Things have gotten just that much harsher for animal abusers this month as the Federal Bureau of Investigation has risen the charge of animal abuse and cruelty to Class A Felony status in the United States. Originally, the crime and punishment for it was up to the government of the individual states. Many already had it listed as a felony, but many saw it as a Class A Misdemeanor that warranted a lofty fine and, depending on the circumstances, minimal jail time. With this new elevation, every state is to charge animal abuse as a felony which is fifteen years to life in prison.
This is certainly a win for animal activists, but why such a decision for the FBI? According to their public relations team, it is to prevent future murders. It has been a long known fact that children and adults that commit horrible crimes of violence against animals are highly likely to escalate the violence to people at some point in their life. Being able to kill or brutally batter an animal shows a lack of empathy and conscience. Serial killers like Jeffery Dahmer, Alberto DeSalvo (the Boston Strangler) and David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) all murdered and tortured animals before moving onto people. The FBI and other agencies hope to put these individuals behind bars and get them help before they become the next serial murderer.
“The new animal cruelty statistics will allow police and counselors to work with children who show early signs of trouble, so a preschooler hurting animals today isn’t going to be hurting a person two years from now,” said Madeline Bernstein, president and CEO of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles after the announcement.
Now law enforcement agencies everywhere will have to make reports of incidents falling into four categories: simple or gross neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse, and animal sexual abuse.
This will assure the long called for tougher sentences on animal abusers and help keep both people and animals safer.