The FBI already uses national databases to crack crimes like murder and rape. Now you can add animal cruelty to that list.
Starting in January, the FBI began tracking animal abuse cases across the country.
"The fact that the FBI is going to track animal cruelty really provides a heightened awareness of animal cruelty in the United States,” said the Nebraska Humane Society VP of Field Operations, Mark Langan.
For the FBI, animal cruelty used to fall into an “other” category, usually lumped with less serious crimes.
Now it is considered a crime against society and the cases will be divided into four categories.
"I think the FBI saw that animal cruelty is not a standalone crime, but it involves so many other major crimes in the country,” said Langan.
The FBI says the decision to create a database was in response to direct correlation between animal abuse and violent crimes against people.
“They're going to track things like who's committing animal cruelty, what are the ages of those committing the abuse,” said Langan.
Mark Langdan says the data will help them better understand where animal abuse crimes are happening and by what age group. The data may ultimately help create more effective education and intervention programs, especially for youngsters.
“As I assume, a lot of studies will be done to try to help young kids early in life that might be prone to abusing animals, because we all know that a lot of people who abuse animals when they're little will abuse people when they're older,” said Langdan.
Since the database is so new, the FBI says it will most likely be several months before the first wave of data is available.