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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tell Lawmakers to Ensure That Animal Cruelty Is Treated as a Serious Crime

The Tracking Animal Cruelty Crimes Act of 2007 would require the FBI to add animal cruelty as a separate category in its crime data reporting system. Contact your senators and ask for their co-sponsorship and support of this bill!

The link between animal cruelty and other forms of societal violence is a national concern. The practice of dogfighting perfectly illustrates this connection, as it is almost always linked to illegal drug and weapons violations, gambling, aggravated assault and gang violence.

Laws that enable law enforcement agencies to address animal cruelty increasingly improve the lives of animals. However, reported incidents of animal cruelty are still not getting the attention they deserve because there is no national system designed to track these crimes. Instead, when local and state police agencies report animal cruelty incidents to the FBI, they are labeled “other offenses.” This in turn makes it nearly impossible to access and respond to even the most basic information about animal cruelty crimes and their perpetrators.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) wants to change this. Today, Sen. Menendez introduced the Tracking Animal Cruelty Crimes Act of 2007, which would require the FBI to add animal cruelty as a separate category in its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Doing so will help law enforcement agencies track animal cruelty crimes, which will help stop the cycle of violence and allow researchers to study animal cruelty’s connection to other forms of societal violence. This critical bill ensures that animal cruelty is finally treated as a serious crime.

The American Humane Association supports this legislation. Tell your senators to co-sponsor and support the Tracking Animal Cruelty Crimes Act of 2007!

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