FBI to track animal abusers - WNEM TV 5

FBI to track animal abusers

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Soon, cases of animal cruelty will be on the radar of the FBI.

"We are thrilled by that," said Jeannie Wolicki-Nichols.

Wolicki-Nichols, president of the Humane Society of Bay County, said it shows the agency is serious about helping our four-legged friends.

Animal cruelty is regarded as an early indicator of violent crime.

"Research shows us that elder abuse, child abuse, people that do all of those things begin with animals," Wolicki-Nichols said.

As part of the effort set to begin on the first of the year, the FBI will now track cases of abuse and cruelty much like murders or rapes are tracked now.

The system will then flag it as a high priority for law enforcement.

Cases of abuse would also be classified as group-A felonies – in the same category as murder, punishable by up to life in prison.

"If the FBI says this a crime that needs to be taken seriously, as a community we need to take it seriously," Wolicki-Nichols said.

And animal cruelty continues to be a real issue here in Mid-Michigan.

On Wednesday, TV5 viewer Sharon Mozola sent in photos of what appears to be a dead dog chained to a tree in Saginaw.

"Who could possibly do this? This poor animal. How long did it suffer? How could somebody do this? Your heart just breaks," Mozola said.

Wolicki-Nichols said the FBI's new system should hopefully help law enforcement link cases like that one together and help put abusers in jail.

"The importance of sharing information with each other so a person doesn't fall through the cracks," Wolicki-Nichols said.

The Humane Society of Bay County will hold an animal cruelty town hall meeting on Jan. 25.

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