FBI will began tracking animal cruelty cases

From yesterday's Baltimore Sun:

"The FBI will begin tracking cases of animal cruelty nationally in 2016, a move advocates hope will bring more attention to the crime among law enforcement agencies and underscore the link between animal abuse and other violent crimes.

Until now, animal-related crimes have been reported into a catch-all category in the FBI’s National Incident Based Reporting System. The database collects crime reports from police departments across the country.

'There was no way to find out how often it occurs, where it occurs, and whether it was on the increase,' said Mary Lou Randour, senior adviser for animal cruelty programs and training at the nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute. 'Empirical data is important. It’s going to give us information about animal cruelty crime so we can plan better about intervention and prevention.'"

It does not appear that the FBI will be reporting incidents in which law enforcement officers shoot dogs or use lethal force against other animals, unless those officers are charged criminally. It is exceedingly rare for police officers to be charged with a crime for killing an animal while on duty. Using a sample of 1664 incidents in which police or municipal animal control officers used lethal force against animals, the Puppycide Database Project found only 40 incidents in which responsible officers were at least indicted - a rate of 2.4%.

Even though this announcement from the FBI does not directly address the problem of puppycide, data released by the FBI will be put to use by our researchers here at the Puppycide Database Project as soon as it becomes available. For the last six months, the Project has begun researching cases in which civilians killed companion animals. Although PuppycideDB is focused on the use of force by police against animals, information on civilian animal abuse cases are immensely valuable to our understanding of law enforcement trends. For example, using the FBI data in addition to existing research on animal abuse cases, Puppycide Database Project can discover whether police are more or less likely to kill or harm animals than the population at large. Such a figure could be tracked over time as an indication of how violent the relationship is between police and animals.

h/t to Fatal Encounters