SOURCE: Last Chance for Animals

Last Chance for Animals

October 09, 2014 15:41 ET

FBI Now Classifies Animal Cruelty as High-Level Felony, Will Start Tracking Crimes

Chris DeRose and LCA Have Long Linked Animal Torture to Violence Against Humans, as Does FBI

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 9, 2014) - For more than 30 years, animal rights organization Last Chance for Animals (LCA) has pushed for tougher laws and penalties for animal abuse. Now, in a move applauded by the organization, the FBI will finally begin tracking animal cruelty cases, classifying them as Group A felonies. This will take effect in January 2016.

Previously, animal-related offenses were not included in the annual Uniform Crime Report; now they will be, enabling law enforcement agents at all levels to better track them. Like arson and homicide, these crimes will fall under their own distinct category.

Acknowledging that animal abusers often move on to harm humans, the FBI believes it will now be easier to intervene before criminals torture or murder other people. This echoes what Last Chance for Animals (LCA) founder Chris DeRose has long maintained: that many violent offenders start off with cruelty to animals.

In 2012, DeRose appeared on the Jane Velez show to discuss this issue, following the arrest of Canadian killer Luka Magnotta. Magnotta posted videos of himself torturing and suffocating kittens online, after which LCA and other activist groups warned that humans would likely be his next victims. Authorities failed to act. Soon, Magnotta posted the video "1 Lunatic, 1 Ice Pick," in which he killed and dismembered Chinese exchange student Lin Jun.

Other killers who graduated from animal cruelty to homicide include Jeffrey Dahmer, the Columbine shooters, and "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez, with whom DeRose once spent jail time (DeRose has endured a total of 12 arrests for protesting animal injustice).

Seeking to curb violence against all species, DeRose has served as a big brother to 24 impoverished children, and has also reached out to young animal-abuse offenders in an effort to help turn their lives around.

Last Chance for Animals is an international animal advocacy organization that conducts undercover investigations and launches public awareness campaigns to expose animal cruelty. LCA's Special Investigations Unit travels the world to document abuse in research labs, puppy mills, factory farms and the entertainment industry.