Animal Abuse Is Now Considered A Felony According To The FBI

Animal rights activists scored a big win earlier this week when the FBI added animal cruelty to its list of felonies, putting it along side crimes like homicide. These rules apply to neglect, intentional abuse, organized abuse (like dog fights) torture, and the sexual abuse of animals.

The agency now intends to track these crimes as it does other serious crimes.

Related: 25 Of The Most Adorable Parenting Moments In The Animal Kingdom

Beginning January 1st, 2016, data will be entered into the National Incident-Based Reporting System the FBI uses to keep a record of crimes across the nation. This decision will help stop animal abuse and identify people who might commit violent acts against animals.

According to various studies, almost 70% of violent criminals began by abusing animals, so this move will give law enforcement an edge in anticipating citizens who are at risk of falling into violent behavior.

Tracking animal abuse is "a huge policy shift and significant step forward," says Scott Heiser, a lawyer with the Animal Defense League.

Animal abuse is already a felony in 13 states and D.C.

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