Daniel DeSousa / AWI and NACA / 29 pages
Animal control officers (ACOs) are often the first responders to incidents of animal neglect and cruelty. Their importance in this role took on added significance on January 1, 2016, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation started collecting data on animal cruelty incidents under its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)—a policy approved in 2014 in large part due to efforts by AWI staff members. (See AWI Quarterly, fall 2014.) As such, ACOs will play a key role in developing an accurate and comprehensive system of animal cruelty crime reporting in the United States.
ACOs have not heretofore been NIBRS reporters, since animal cruelty incidents did not have a reportable category within the system, and at least half of animal control agencies nationwide are not associated with a local law enforcement agency. Ensuring that the animal cruelty crime database is truly comprehensive, therefore, will require bringing ACOs into the reporting system.
AWI, in partnership with the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA), is leading that effort by developing the NIBRS User Manual for Animal Control Officers and Humane Law Enforcement. In addition to providing reporting guidance, this manual contains a reporting form that was developed in cooperation with the FBI and conforms to NIBRS requirements. There is also a template for a memorandum of understanding that can be used to formalize relationships between an animal control agency and a local police department for sharing data on animal cruelty incidents.
AWI and NACA will jointly disseminate the manual and offer training so that ACOs are aware of their new and critical role in reporting animal cruelty incidents to the FBI.