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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

December 2018 | Volume 11 | Issue 12

On November 8, 2018, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) released new resources for combating animal cruelty. Animal abuse has long been linked with other forms of antisocial behaviors and criminal violence. It is estimated that animal abusers are five times more likely than those who do not abuse animals to commit violent crimes against people, four times more likely to commit property crimes, and three times more likely to have a record for drug or disorderly conduct offenses.

Animal Cruelty as a Gateway Crime assists in building the capacity of all participating law enforcement agencies to recognize that animal cruelty crimes can serve as precursors to more violent crimes, as a co-occurring crime to other types of offenses, and as an interrelated crime to other offenses such as domestic violence and elder abuse. Armed with this knowledge, law enforcement officers (assigned both to patrol and to investigative duties) can take steps both to solve current crimes and to prevent future crimes from occurring.

To complement the white paper, the COPS Office and NSA also released a new “Animal Cruelty” app available free on either the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. This law enforcement tool will help officers and deputies recognize and investigate instances of animal cruelty. The app is designed as an informational and awareness tool that contains the following resources:

  • Response. Checklist of questions to ask when responding to a variety of calls for service (domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and dogfighting)
  • Training. Contains a series of mini-training videos:
  • Resources. Contains links to valuable resources
  • Evidence. A reminder to take photos or videos of evidence that can be stored on your camera or servers connected to your phone

To learn more about these resources, please visit the Animal Cruelty as a Gateway Crime project site.

Nazmia Comrie, Senior Program Specialist
COPS Office

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