According to the FBI, the official 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. This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport; use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.”
This new FBI categorization is intended to improve the way crimes against animals are tracked nationwide and could help bolster state animal cruelty laws across the United States.
All 50 states now have felony animal cruelty provisions. On March 14, 2014, South Dakota became the final state to enact a felony provision for animal cruelty.
There’s a national consensus that animal abuse should indeed be treated as a serious crime. Now animal cruelty will be a Group A felony . The new classification will make it easier to get harsher sentences, and to identify young offenders.Awesome!
Because cases of animal cruelty, including animal neglect, will now be included in the FBI Uniform Crime Report law enforcement agencies have more incentive to pay attention to any incidents, and statistics on these types of crime will be more accurate and detailed.
It will take some time to update FBI and law enforcement databases nationwide, so no data will be collected until January 2016, and then it’s projected to be several more months before there are numbers to analyze.