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2016-01-07

Now a 'top-tier' FBI felony, animal cruelty data will be tracked nationwide

Special to the Courier

Photo courtesy of dogheirs.com
This dog, a victim of dogfighting, had half of its head bitten off.

Special to the Courier
http://www.dogheirs.com

(Editor's note: According to onegreenplanet.org, on Jan. 1, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began tracking animal cruelty cases. Police departments and law enforcement agencies around the country are now required to report cases of animal abuse through a national database.
The FBI will use the information uploaded onto its National Incident-Based Reporting System to provide nationwide statistics on crimes committed to animals. These cases will also newly be categorized as "crimes against society," and will now be regarded as Group A felonies. This grouping also includes murder, arson, assault and drug trafficking.
Hopefully, this new classification will help justify harsher sentences. Not only will this law hold animal abusers responsible for their crimes, but it may also help prevent them from abusing animals in the future. Additionally, there is a chance that shelters could be given access to the data in order to ensure animals are not adopted by offenders, who may be more likely to subject them to neglect or abuse.)

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation are making it easier to track animal cruelty in an order to stop and rehabilitate young people who torture or kill animals before they become violent toward people.
The law enforcement agency is categorizing animal cruelty as a top-tier felony alongside arson, assault and homicide to help law enforcement identify and track such acts nationwide.
Many studies reveal that children who torture or kill animals are likely to show violence towards people when they grow up. The new categorization will aid law enforcement and the FBI in quantifying and reporting incidents of animal abuse.
The new categorization will also break down the abuse as neglect, simple or gross; intentional torture, abuse organized by groups, such as dog fighting; and sexual abuse of animals. Animal cruelty is currently labeled as "other," which has made it difficult to find, count and track incidents and perpetrators.
The newer classification, which went into effect Jan. 1, will help law enforcement in many ways, including helping them with stricter sentencing and convictions, according to Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Los Angeles.
Officers will start to see the data are facts, and "not just somebody saying the 'Son of Sam' killed animals before he went to human victims and 70-some percent of the school shooters abused animals prior to doing their acts before people," noted John Thompson, a retired assistant sheriff from Prince George's County, Maryland told the Detroit Free Press.
The FBI's new categorization will greatly improve the way such crimes are tracked nationwide and likely will help animal cruelty laws in across the States. It will also help police and counselors work with children who show early signs of trouble.
More information is available at http://www.dogheirs.com/tamara/posts/6112-fbi-ranks-animal-cruelty-as-top-tier-felony-and-will-track-data-nationwide#eCxMH8yjd6UkJrXw.99 and http://www.dogheirs.com/tamara/posts/6112-fbi-ranks-animal-cruelty-as-top-tier-felony-and-will-track-data-nationwide#eCxMH8yjd6UkJrXw.99.