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FBI to Treat Animal Abuse as Seriously as Murder

Data on crime-committers, trends, and effectiveness of programs will now be much more trackable.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is making history by tracking animal-abuse cases and classifying animal cruelty as a Group A felony—the same as homicide or arson—for the first time ever. The change came about after animal-rights advocate Mary Lou Randour lobbied for years for the FBI to classify animal cruelty as its own separate offense category—it had previously been simply classified as “other,” rendering any analyzing of trends nearly impossible amongst a cacophony of data on other crimes. Now, four categories of animal-cruelty crimes will exist: simple or gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse, and animal sexual abuse. “There is overwhelming evidence that [animal abuse] is linked to crimes against people, including violent crimes and domestic violence,” Randour told The Washington Post. “It’s not about protecting people or animals, it’s protecting them both.”

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