The FBI Will Finally Track Animal Abuse And Collect Data Starting In 2016

A black and white photo of a dog looking out from a cage.

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

With all of the shocking stories about dogs in 2015, many of our readers have asked why more isn’t being done to prevent cruelty to the animals that we love and care about. As we report on these stories, we find ourselves wondering the same thing. Starting in 2016, the FBI is taking a step in the right direction. They will being collecting data on animal abuse that will help activists and researchers in their fight to prevent animal cruelty.

The FBI will start by adding a new category for animal cruelty in their National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS). They’ve broken the data down into four main categories of abuse: simple/gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse (which includes dog fighting), and animal sexual abuse. They consider animal cruelty a Group A offense, which means police departments across the United States are required, by law, to report all incidents to the FBI database.

Several dogs are packed together in small cages.

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

The Animal Welfare Institute will be able to use all of this data to create intervention and education programs among areas and groups where animal abuse is prevalent. They’ll be able to report to law makers about what changes should be made in legislation. Usually law enforcement takes crimes against animals less seriously since human lives aren’t at risk. But the National Link Coalition points out that when animals are abused, people are often hurt, as well. 

When pets are hurt, it is often a sign of other problems, like domestic abuse. Serial killers often have a history of cruelty to animals, as well, before they move on to human victims. Preventing animal abuse is a step toward preventing crimes against humans. But, to us, hurting a defenseless animal is bad enough of a crime on its own. We should all be working to prevent these crimes whether or not human lives are involved.

What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction? Does it go far enough? What other changes would you like law enforcement to make to prevent animal cruelty? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Article: FBI Makes Animal Abuse A Crime Against Society