Previously, all animal abuse cases were lumped in with mostly minor crimes as "other offenses" in the agency's reporting system. Now, neglect, torture, organized abuse and sexual abuse of animals will be classified as "Group A" offenses, requiring police to report such cases to the FBI as they would other major crimes like assault and murder.
"No longer will extremely violent cases be included in the 'other offense' category simply because the victims were animals," wrote Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) President Wayne Pacelle in response to the change. "Just as the FBI tracks hate crimes and other important categories, we will now have critical data on animal cruelty."
In addition to helping police more effectively allocate resources to combat animal abuse, the data will finally allow policymakers and researchers to examine cruelty at a national and state-wide scale when the data is made public next year.
The ALDF's annual ranking of animal protection laws.