Animal Cruelty Category Added to the FBI NIBRS
This year the FBI prepares to collect data on animal cruelty crimes through its National Incident-Based Reporting System, or NIBRS. NIBRS is a collection of detailed crime statistics that law enforcement agencies from across the country provide to the FBI. Reports indicate the Bureau partnered with the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Animal Welfare Institute to make the change.
They believe that animal cruelty is an early indicator of violent crime, and that led the discussions with law enforcement partners throughout the country.
The FBI will collect data on four types of animal abuse:
• Simple/gross neglect
• Intentional abuse and torture
• Organized abuse (dog fighting and cock fighting)
• Animal sexual abuse
The FBI defines cruelty to animals as: “Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment. Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured; transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal.
Implementing the change is a year-long process. They are reaching out to enforcement partners to educate about the issues and help ready their systems to collect the data. Data collection begins in 2016 and will be available to the public in 2017.
Local Reporting of Animal Abuse
(San Diego County)
Under the California Business and Professions Code 4830.5 and 4830.7, veterinarians are required to report suspected cases of animal cruelty or abuse and dog fighting to the proper authorities. In San Diego County, that can be either County Animal Services, or San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. No veterinarian “shall incur any civil liability as a result of making any report pursuant to this section”.
ARTICLE 2. Practice Provisions
4830.5. Report of animal abuse or cruelty
Whenever any licensee under this chapter has reasonable cause to believe that a dog has been injured or killed through participation in a staged animal fight, as prescribed in Section 597b of the Penal Code, it shall be the duty of the licensee to promptly report the same to the
appropriate law enforcement authorities of the county, city, or city and county in which the same occurred.
No licensee shall incur any civil liability as a result of making any report pursuant to this section or as a result of making any report of a violation of Section 596, subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 597, or Section 597b, 597f, 597g, 597n, or 597.5 of the Penal Code.
4830.7 Whenever any licensee under this chapter has reasonable cause to believe an animal under its care has been a victim of animal abuse or cruelty, as prescribed in Section 597 of the Penal Code, it shall be the duty of the licensee to promptly report it to the appropriate law enforcement authorities of the county, city, or city and county in which it occurred. No licensee shall incur any civil liability as a result of making any report pursuant to this section or as a result of making any report of a violation of subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) of Section 597 of the Penal Code.