VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - For the first time ever, the FBI is now tracking animal cruelty crimes.
Officials say the FBI has now added animal cruelty crimes to their national Uniform Crime Report and it will now be a group "A" offense.
Susan Odoyo, part of the Vanderburgh County Animal Cruelty Task Force, tells us that cruelty to animals is often linked to other crimes involving domestic violence and drugs.
She says now cruelty to animals will no longer be swept under the rug and this is a huge step across the country. This change will only factor in to future crimes against animals, not past ones.
" With this recent announcement by the FBI as well as the formation of our task force, we're hoping to make sure that we're sending a clear message to animal abusers that they'll no longer get a slap on the wrist. That we're paying attention and we're making sure that they're prosecuted," says Odoyo.
Odoyo also says the trial of Anthony Bell, accused of beating a 14-yr-old Beagle with a blunt object, is scheduled to begin Wednesday in Vanderburgh County.