FBI Will Begin To Track Animal Cruelty Crimes

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

FBI Director James Comey's approval of the Advisory Policy Board (APB) recommendation to include animal cruelty within the National Incident-Based Reporting System  (NIBRS), will provide an important tool to law enforcement for tracking crimes and criminals, the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) announced on September 17.

“The FBI will begin tracking animal cruelty cases just as they track other crimes,” wrote Wayne Pacelle of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in a blog post Tuesday, according to USA Today. “Local agencies will also track [animal] cruelty cases to report to the FBI,”

"No longer will extremely violent cases be included in the "other offense" category simply because the victims were animals. Just as the FBI tracks hate crimes and other important categories, we will now have critical data on animal cruelty," said Pacelle.

 Here’s how it will work, according to the National Sheriffs’ Association:

1)  Animal cruelty crimes will now be reported as a Group A offense to include simple/gross neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse; and animal sexual abuse.                             

2)  Additionally, cruelty to animals will be defined as:  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. 

3)  This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport; use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.


In 1929, the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program was first developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, to meet the need for reliable crime statistics.

In 1930, the FBI took charge and started collecting, publishing and archiving crime statistics.

In 1989,  the need for a more detail-oriented crime data collection became apparent, and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) was implemented to improve the quantity and quality of crime data collected by law enforcement by capturing more detailed information on each single crime occurrence.


In 2001, a San Diego woman, Alison Gianotto, shared the frustration of  animal activists that there was little, if any, exchange of information between local law-enforcement and animal-control agencies regarding crimes of cruelty to animals

Alison developed an amazing site that has logged almost 20,000 cases in a searchable data base, with maps, and also includes the UK and other areas.  (

Sources: Stacey Page Online, USA Today, CatalystCreativ, Pet Abuse