FBI Names Animal Abuse Class A Felony
The FBI added animal cruelty to its list of Class A Felonies. The FBI started entering data into the National Incident-Based Reporting System or NIBRS on January 1. The NIBRS is a public FBI database that records national crimes. Other Class A Felonies include homicide, arson and kidnapping.
The FBI categorizes instances of animal abuse into four groups- neglect, intentional abuse and tortURE, organized abuse and sexual abuse of animals. The FBI will be monitoring these crimes as closely as it monitors other serious crimes.
The FBI's new decision goes beyond helping the animals. According to the Christian Science Monitor, targeting animal abusers can help the FBI identity those who might commit other violent acts.
Psychological studies show almost 70 percent of violent criminals had a history of abusing animals. Keeping statistics on animal abuse instances can help law enforcement pin-point high-risk demographics and areas.
Animal abuse was already considered a felony in 13 states and in Washington D.C. However, it was previously classified with other miscellaneous crimes. This classification made it nearly impossible for law enforcement to observe patterns of animal abuse.