FBI To Target Animal Abusers – Should UK Follow Suit?

The FBI is about to start taking a much greater interest in the people who get their kicks abusing animals.
Young people who torture and kill animals are prone to violence against people later in life if it goes unchecked, studies have shown. A new federal category for animal cruelty crimes will help root out those pet abusers before their behaviour worsens and give a boost to prosecutions, an animal welfare group says.

For years, the FBI has filed animal abuse under the label "other" along with a variety of lesser crimes, making cruelty hard to find, hard to count and hard to track. The bureau announced this month that it would make animal cruelty a Group A felony with its own category — the same way crimes like homicide, arson and assault are listed.

"It will help get better sentences, sway juries and make for better plea bargains," said Madeline Bernstein, president and CEO of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles and a former New York prosecutor. (Read more…)

Given the established links between serious animal abuse and the propensity for offenders to commit further acts of violence, we ask, should the UK take a page from the FBI's book and give far greater legislative priority to acts of animal cruelty?

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