MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will begin filing animal cruelty offenses as a 'Group A' felony with its own category in order to root out individuals before their violent behavior worsens, the Huffington Post reported Wednesday.
The change will allow officers to realize that studies linking animal cruelty and future heinous crimes are "not just somebody saying the 'Son of Sam' killed animals before he went to human victims and 70-some percent of the school shooters abused animals prior to doing their acts before people," John Thompson, a retired assistant sheriff from Prince George's County, Maryland, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The new federal category will require law enforcement agencies to report incidents in four areas including the level of animal neglect, intentional abuse and torture, and organized abuse, including dogfighting and cockfighting, according to the Huffington Post. According to Thompson, a benefit of the new system is that officers will be forced to review animal cruelty crimes every month which could lead to the prevention of worse crimes in the future.
"It will help get better sentences, sway juries and make for better plea bargains," Madeline Bernstein, president and CEO of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Bernstein added that the new system will allow counselors and police to monitor and advise children abusing animals early on, eliminating violent behavior before it escalates.
According to FBI studies, several serial killers participated in animal abuse before committing more brutal crimes. Jeffrey Dahmer reportedly impaled the heads of dogs, frogs, and cats on sticks while David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, poisoned his mother's pet parakeet. Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, trapped cats and dogs in crates before killing them by shooting arrows through the boxes.
Data collected from the update will not be available until January 2016 due to the scale and cost of the operation.