Persons guilty of animal cruelty are frequently involved in other criminal activity, and often, also commit violent crimes against humans.
In January 2015 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began year-long preparations to collect data on these crimes.
The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) worked in partnership with the FBI to implement the program.
Animal cruelty cases were previously included among “All Other Crimes” in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR). Since 2014, however, animal cruelty is categorized as a Group A crime along with arson, assault and homicide.
AWI had lobbied the FBI for 12 years to make the change.
As of January 1, 2016 the FBI is adding acts of animal cruelty to its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The information will be available to the public in 2017.
NIBRS data will include incidents and arrests as required for four kinds of animal cruelty:
- simple/gross neglect;
- intentional abuse and torture;
- organized abuse; and
- animal sexual abuse.
The National Sheriff’s Association website highlights its National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse. The NLECAA serves to:
…bring greater awareness to, and understanding by, our nation’s law enforcement officers on the oftentimes misunderstood nature of animal abuse crimes and their link to violence against humans.
The Center provides information and training for officers to equip them for enforcing the animal abuse laws within their jurisdictions.
Smartphone app for reporting animal abuse
In addition, the NSA and the Humane Society of the United States launched a smartphone app for Apple and Android – available free to the public.
NSA Executive Director, John Thompson, said:
…we are using the latest in technology to help catch animal abusers in the act. We encourage everyone who has a smartphone and cares about protecting animals and our communities to download this new app.
Witnesses to animal abuse can make a video to submit to the NSA. The Humane Society pays the costs to follow up on the case. An agent will notify local authorities and animal services to retrieve the animal, and the district attorney to file charges.
Missouri laws on animal abuse
Chapter 578 of the Revised Missouri Statutes categorizes animal abuse under “Miscellaneous Offenses.” Changes that will take effect on January 1, 2017 are separately identified.
The Humane Society of Missouri operates an Animal Cruelty Task Force that serves 114 counties and the City of St. Louis.
The Task Force responds to disasters affecting animals, investigates reports of abuse, unlicensed puppy mills, pet hoarding, and mistreatment of farm animals.
Call the number on the banner to report abuse, or report incidents online here.