In January of 2016, the FBI began tracking data on animal cruelty in the same way it does for felonies like homicide and arson. In addition, whereas previously the bureau’s annual crime report lumped animal cruelty data into an All Other Offenses category, it will now recognize animal cruelty on its own, as well as separate such crime into one of four subcategories.
Along with enabling a promising future for the protection of animals, this new classification will provide a more detailed look at the nature of abusers. For instance, the FBI has recognized a correlation between instances of animal cruelty and other forms of abuse, such as domestic violence. With the new database of perpetrators, law enforcement officials will thus be better prepared to act against future offenses. This decision will also help cultivate widespread awareness of the frequency of animal cruelty in general.
Beverly Stayart notes that the punishment for animal abusers has also been strengthened to include prison sentences. In the past, before the establishment of the tracking system, animal abusers often got away with a slap on the hand, and nothing more.