Animal cruelty is finally being considered a "crime against society" by the FBI.
Starting in 2016, those who abuse animals will be held just as accountable as someone who abuses a human. Before the FBI announced this law, animal cruelty was vaguely categorized as "other" in the scheme of abuses in the Uniform Crime Report, reported NJ.com.
The newly written law will allow the government to collect and track information about animal abuse in the country.
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 law is great news for animals throughout the country, as animal cruelty crimes will considered a more serious crime.
When the FBI was formulating this new law it partnered with the National Sheriffs' Association and the Animal Welfare Institute.
"[The National Sheriffs' Association and the Animal Welfare Institute] believe that animal cruelty was an early indicator of violent crime, and that's really what led the discussions with our law enforcement partners throughout the country," Amy Blasher, FBI unit chief, said in the FBI announcement of the law.