The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Starting Next Year The FBI Will Add Animal Cruelty Cases To National Crime Report

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Starting Next Year The FBI Will Add Animal Cruelty Cases To National Crime Report

The Federal Bureau of investigation announced this week that it will start reporting crimes of animal cruelty - intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment.

The FBI will treat animal cruelty  as a separate offense under its uniform reporting system, leading the way for more comprehensive statistics on animal abuse.

Previously, crimes against animals were recorded under a generic “all other offense” category in the Uniform Crime Report, widely considered the most comprehensive source of crime statistics in the United States.

More recently, social media sites have provided platforms for caught-on-tape exposés and forums focused on publicly shaming animal abusers. The proliferation of such online venues has helped fuel the outrage of many Americans.

The Humane Society, the Animal Welfare Institute Program and the Animal Legal Defense Fund were among the groups to laud FBI Director James B. Comey's decision to include animal cruelty as a distinct category on the annual index, the nation's prime source for US crime information.

Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote on his blog on Wednesday, "No longer will extremely violent cases be included in the 'other offense' category simply because the victims were animals."

Included are:
  • Instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured;
  • Transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death;
  • Causing an animal to fight with another;
  • Inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal.

This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport or use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.

Before establishing the special category, there was no easy way to track the number of animal cruelty cases in the US But high-profile cases ranging from NFL quarterback Michael Vick's illegal dog fighting ring to a puppy-kicking episode implicating Desmond Hague, the former CEO of a sports catering company that provides services to several NFL teams, have helped shine a national spotlight on the issue.

The issue is a national problem, while cruelty cases occurring in all 50 states.

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