FBI Labels Animal Cruelty a Crime Against Society An emaciated horse is one of more than 200 seized from Herman and Kathleen Hoffman's Calico Dairy property in Texas. 

Animal Cruelty a Crime Against Society: FBI [2019 Update]

Two years of animal cruelty data

The FBI published the first two years of animal cruelty data, although patterns may take several more years to emerge there is good news.

The data collected so far shows a rise in the reporting of animal cruelty incidents.

So far, a third of law enforcement agencies are collecting and sending detailed information for each reported instance of animal cruelty. It includes times, locations, weapons involved, and connected criminal activities.

The FBI is transitioning its crime data collection from a legacy summary reporting system to the more detailed National Incident-Based Reporting System. Agencies can transition ahead of the 2021 deadline.

Kentucky is one state that has counties where no cruelty incidents were reported. Not surprisingly, The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) ranks Kentucky last once again for its animal protection laws in 2019.

Is there no animal cruelty to report in Kentucky’s counties? Is it really a problem with reporting animal cruelty in Kentucky or with the animal control offices’ response? These are questions that remain.

The National Sheriffs’ Association executive director, Jonathan F. Thompson says people who hurt animals often hurt humans. It’s those patterns of animal abuse that can indicate that other crimes are occurring.

So, if you see something, say something – don’t let animal cruelty be a gateway crime.




published December 1, 2015


Animal abusers likely to harm people

Research shows animal abusers are more likely to also harm people. It is this link that inspired the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to change the way it classifies those who harm animals.

Beginning in January 2016, animal abusers will be a part of a new category in the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which collects and reports crime statistics from around the country. Law enforcement agencies will have four classification categories under animal cruelty. Included are intentional abuse or torture, organized abuse, simple or gross, and animal sexual abuse.

Studies have established that, similar to people, animals feel pain and fear. Those who understand the link between crimes towards animals and people are in a better position to prevent future violence says attorney and advocate Allie Phillips.

Harming animals is labeled as a crime against society and is a Group A offense. Other crimes in that grouping include homicide, arson, and kidnapping. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program is used by criminologists, law enforcement and researchers.

Previously, those who abused or neglected animals were included in a catch-all category.

The FBI’s new data classification brought with it confusion among some in the equine industry. While a step forward, the change does not make animal cruelty a federal crime. It also does not dictate that all animal cruelty cases be prosecuted as felonies. Additionally, the FBI is not getting involved in investigating cases where animals are abused.

The results of the new category for animal abusers will be available to the public a year after its launch. Advocates say changing how these statistics are reported will show important trends over the coming years.