Target: FBI Spokesman Stephen G. Fischer
Goal: Thank the FBI for recognizing the heinous effects of animal cruelty on society
The FBI announced that it will begin reporting animal cruelty and neglect as separate offenses under its reporting system. The goal is not only to ensure animal welfare, but also to obtain more comprehensive statistics about animal abuse as a national problem. The FBI’s recognition of animal cruelty as a crime on par with violent acts against humans is one of the most important moments for animal welfare in the United States thus far and deserves our gratitude.
Until now, animal cruelty has been recorded in the “all other offense” category in the Uniform Crime Report, which is the most comprehensive crime statistics record in the United States. Beginning in 2015, however, animal cruelty will be reported as its own distinct category, giving it the same significance as major offenses like murder, assault, and arson. The FBI’s expanded definition of animal cruelty will be “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment. Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured; transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal.” These offenses will be broken into four categories: simple/gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse (such as dog fighting), and animal sexual abuse.
The FBI’s new classification is evidence that the federal government is finally taking animal welfare and protection seriously, including stronger punishments for those who violate such laws. Animal welfare groups have been lobbying for this kind of awareness from the FBI for more than a decade. The FBI ultimately decided to adopt the changes because of pressure from the Animal Welfare Institute and the National Sheriff’s Association. Law enforcement is only now recognizing the growing presence of animal cruelty and the complex ways in which it often predicts other violent acts when it continues unchecked.
Please take a moment to thank the FBI for finally treating animal welfare with as much consideration as it deserves.
Dear Mr. Fischer,
The FBI recently announced that animal cruelty will now have its own category in the Uniform Crime Report as a crime against society. This is a significant moment for animal welfare in the United States. It not only acknowledges animals as members of society rather than property, but also increases awareness of the link between acts of animal cruelty and other violent crimes perpetrated against humans.
Thank you so much for finally recognizing the heinous nature of animal cruelty at the federal level and its adverse effect on society as a whole.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: luann_snawder_photography via Flickr