Animal Cruelty Gets More Attention from FBI
Animal cruelty may finally get the attention and punishment it deserves. The FBI recently added animal cruelty to its list of Class A Felonies.
Director of the animal cruelty policy for the Humane Society of the United States, John Goodwin, praised the action, saying it will help fill a much-needed information gap:
“Organizations such as ours try to keep track of various categories of animal-cruelty crime through news clips and through contacts we have in various jurisdictions, but nobody has the means to do it in a very thorough way. The FBI is the only entity that could do it to this scale. Now they’re going to start doing it."
Previously, the FBI categorized animal abuse as "other". Now, the FBI will categorize instances of animal abuse into four groups: neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse, and sexual abuse of animals.
The FBI's new decision goes beyond helping the animals. "It will help get better sentences, sway juries and make for better plea bargains," said Madeline Bernstein, president and CEO of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles and a former New York prosecutor. The category also will help identify young offenders, and a defendant might realize "if he gets help now, he won't turn into Jeffrey Dahmer," she said.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, targeting animal abusers can help the FBI identity those who might commit other violent acts.
Tell us what you think! Do you think the new tracking will decrease animal cruelty or the number of older violent offenders?