On March 7, 2019, AWI awarded the Schweitzer Medal to John Thompson in recognition of his extraordinary efforts to improve law enforcement’s recognition of animal cruelty as a crime of violence and its response to those crimes.
Thompson, a seasoned law enforcement officer, worked with AWI to convince the FBI in 2014 to add animal cruelty crimes as a distinct category in the National Incident-Based Reporting System. In addition to this, he helped found the National Coalition on Violence Against Animals—a multidisciplinary coalition of local, state, and national organizations that seeks to reduce violence against animals and raise awareness of its link to human violence. He also helped found the National Sheriffs’ Association’s National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse, which assists officers in understanding and enforcing animal cruelty laws. In January 2019, Thompson became executive director of the National Animal Care and Control Association, which seeks to strengthen the animal care and control profession through training, networking, and advocacy.