MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WDTN) – Animal cruelty has become such a problem for law enforcement that the FBI is taking action.
Beginning in January 2016, the FBI will track animal cruelty cases in Ohio and across the nation.
Before now, animal abuse fell under an ‘other’ category lumped together with other less serious crimes, said Mark Kumpf with the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center.
The FBI already has national databases for crimes like murder and rape. Now, law enforcement will track animal cruelty as well.
“This is the biggest change out of the FBI. This is a giant leap forward and people in law enforcement are hitting the ground running,” said Kumpf.
Local investigators will upload each cruelty case to the database. The cases will be divided into four categories: animal neglect, torture, organized abuse — like dog fighting rings — and animal sex abuse.
The FBI will use the data to find patterns and identify ways to prevent animal cruelty.
“If someone is going to beat a dog and torture a dog, they’re not that far from doing that to a human,” said Marcia Doncaster, Miami County dog warden.
Doncaster says currently her office has three open animal abuse cases.
“This is going to give not just national authorities, but local authorities, the correlation between animal cruelty and child abuse and neglect, assaults, homicides, gang violence and show where those offenses occur and where others are also likely to occur,” said Kumpf.
Both Kumpf and Doncaster see dozens of these cases of every year. They hope the database could eventually lead to stiffer laws.
“Literally, we handle hundreds of animal cruelty cases and conduct investigations, how many of those are chargeable offenses is much lower,” said Kumpf.
Kumpf says in a couple of years, when there are solid statistics, it could be justification for federal funding.