FBI – New Animal Abuse Law

Beginning in 2016, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will reclassify animal abuse as a Group A felony. This classification means it is considered a major crime. Offenses will be reported on the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

Up until this reclassification, animal abuse was judged under Group B offenses which are “All Other Offenses” and considered minor crimes such as writing bad checks, trespassing, etc. Group A offenses are much more serious crimes such as kidnapping and homicide.

The next step should be for States to follow the FBI’s lead and establish laws equally as strong to help reduce or end animal abuse. The FBI, although they may be called in on animal abuse cases cannot preempt state laws. It has been proven time and again that persons who commit any form of animal abuse will eventually turn this abuse on humans.

The four types of offense under the FBI reclassification include simple or gross neglect, deliberate abuse or torture, organized abuse (animal fighting) and sexual abuse against an animal.

The FBI will collect information beginning January 2016 with statistics being available on NIBRS the following year.

If you live in the United States, you can help by reporting any animal abuse you witness directly to the FBI. Also, there is a petition online to create a public registry for animal abusers to help prevent these crimes before they happen.

If you live outside the U.S., check with animal welfare organizations and learn what the law is in your particular country.

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