The Federal Bureau of Investigation has started tracking and monitoring people who intentionally inflict harm on animals. The law enforcement agency has found that history of animal cruelty is a possible indicator of criminals who have the potential to carry out violence and other crimes to humans in the future.
According to Popular Science, a research conducted by the Chicago Police Department found that 65 percent of criminals who were guilty of assault has a record of animal abuse. A more recent study published on Animal Legal and Historical Center website claims that about 40 percent of people involved in crimes including domestic violence and neglect has perpetrated abuse to animals in their adolescence.
"[A]dults may commit acts of cruelty to animals in order to express aggression through an animal (i.e., train an animal to attack by using pain to create a "mean" dog), enhance one's own aggressiveness (e.g., use an animal victim for target practice), or to satisfy sadistic urges (i.e., to enjoy the suffering experienced by the animal victim), explained Cynthia Hodges, author of the paper.
This is no guarantee that anyone who is aggressive towards their pets will become criminals in the future. However, Popular Science noted that animal abuse in childhood is normally used to diagnose psychiatric illnesses but these does not churn out a school shooter.
Mary Lou Randour, a former psychologist and now an animal rights advocate, revealed that before the changes laid out by the FBI, local police files animal cruelty as "other" in reports submitted to the law enforcement agency. This caused the persistent proliferation of cruelty against animals in the country; no one was keeping track of cases in which animals are being subjected to even serious cases like dogfighting, reported The Washington Post.
Animal Defense League attorney, Scott Heiser, promised that the FBI is now considering animal abuse as a serious crime and every case will be backed with hard data. He also expressed that this change is a "significant step forward" to bringing justice to those who rely on humans for care and safety.
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