Animal Cruelty Crime Incidents in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS): how it was initiated and where it is now

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: Chelsea Hotel, Churchill Ballroom

Dr. Mary Lou Randour, Senior Advisor, Animal Cruelty Programs and Training, Animal Welfare Institute


On September, 2015 FBI Director Comey approved the addition of animal cruelty crime incidents to NIBRS. Animal cruelty crimes were added to Group A of NIBRS, which include some of the more serious crimes such as murder, arson, and larceny.  Animal cruelty were classified as a crime against Society rather than a Crime against Persons or Property. There also were four subcategories established: neglect, intentional, animal fighting, and animal sexual assault. This presentation discusses the 12-year process of going from the idea of adding animal cruelty to NIBRS to its inclusion, which entailed legislative action, networking with allied groups for support, and having a dialogue with the decision makers at the FBI.

There is now three years of data that is available from NIBRS reporting states (2016, 2017, 2018). Turning to an analysis of the current data, the presenter will highlight some of the major findings that can be discerned, such as offenses by gender, race, age, and place of offense and also point out the limitations of the current data.  In addition to an examination of some of the demographic and geographic variables in the animal cruelty crime data, the presenter will identify areas within which data reporting could be improved, e.g., reporting co-occurring offenses, as well as recommend adding categories to NIBRS, e.g., the species of the victim.


  1. How is animal cruelty being tracked by the FBI
  2. How was the addition of animal cruelty offence tracking achieved
  3. What does the existing data that has been tracked show us?


Dr. Randour, a psychologist, is Senior Advisor, Animal Cruelty Programs and Training, Animal Welfare Institute, Washington, D. C. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, won a NIMH Postdoctoral Fellowship, and was a Clinical Fellow in Psychology at Cambridge Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She is the author of handbooks such as A Common Bond: Child Maltreatment and Animals in the Family, as well as AniCare Child, a treatment approach for children who abuse animals. Dr. Randour has published articles in numerous professional journals, most recently in Trauma, Violence & Abuse, as well as written chapters for edited volumes, such as “The Psychology of Animal Abuse Offenders,” co-authored with Dr. Maya Gupta, is in the newly released book Animal Cruelty: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Understanding. Dr. Randour also was instrumental in successfully advocating for the inclusion of animal cruelty crimes as a separate category in the FBI’s National Incident Based Reporting System. Since the inclusion of animal cruelty crime incidents in 2015, Dr. Randour has participated in facilitating the implementation of NIBRS as well as analyzing NIBRS data to better understand animal cruelty and its reporting.  In her career, Dr. Randour has worked for a federal research-funding agency and enjoyed a private practice for almost 20 years.  She now devotes her knowledge of psychology to advance animal protection and its connection to human welfare, working in partnership with organizations such as the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the Battered Women’s Justice Project, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National Animal Care and Control Association, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and the National Sheriff’s Association.