"The change instituted by the FBI formally recognizes the seriousness of animal abuse crimes and their negative impact on the welfare of society," said AWI President Cathy Liss. "The data that will become available as a result of this change will help law enforcement better understand and respond to these types of crimes, which occur alongside many other forms of violence and criminal activity."
What the FBI's new policy will not do, however, is turn animal abuse into a more serious crime or create a registry of animal abusers. Such changes are typically made by county or state governments, like Tennessee, which became the first state with public registry of animal abusers this month.
To learn more about the AWI's work and how you can help protect animals, visit their website here.