National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse

NLECAA intends to bring greater awareness to, and understanding by, our nation's law enforcement officers on the oftentimes misunderstood nature of animal abuse crimes and their link to violence against humans.

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Newly released article in the FBI's Law Enforcement Bulletin!
The Link Between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence
By Charlie Robinson, M.A., M.S., and Victoria Clausen, M.A.

"The roles animals play in society are widespread, ranging from beloved family pets providing comfort, to law enforcement dogs tracking missing persons, to service animals providing critical assistance. Animals are part of nearly everyone’s life in some aspect. Unfortunately, as seen with children, without a voice of their own, animals are among the most vulnerable in society. This vulnerability places them at high risk for animal cruelty — intentional, harmful behavior such as neglecting or killing an animal."


National Dog Abuse Investigation and Prosecution Assistance

The Association of Prosecuting Attorney’s is excited to announce its newly founded National Dog Abuse Investigation and Prosecution Assistance Program. In collaboration with the Stanton Foundation, the program’s goal is to provide prosecutors with the resources to ensure that canine cruelty and dogfighting cases are thoroughly investigated and properly adjudicated by addressing some of the financial barriers that exist for law enforcement and prosecutors. APA is now accepting requests for funding to cover appropriate costs related to dog abuse cases that can include, but are not limited to, (1) costs of care; (2) necropsies and forensic evidence analysis; and (3) expert witness fees.

If you have any questions please contact Nikki Parisi at

Learn More >>

Behind the Mask: Animal Abuse Perpetration as an Indicator of Risk

On June 16, 2019, Andrew Campbell, of Campbell Research and Consulting, presented his research at the annual meeting of the National Coalition on Violence Against Animals (NCOVAA). Though responding officers most commonly report domestic violence abusers who also have a history of abusing animals as apologetic, calm, or crying on scene, recently published research reveals these perpetrators often present a significant risk to families, communities, and responding officers. A unique spatial analysis of law enforcement data from several Indiana communities reveals eye-opening overlapping patterns in violence and new information regarding the links between violence against humans and violence against animals.

View the PDF of Andrew's presentation here.

About Andrew:

Andrew Campbell is an expert on domestic violence and the associated risks of harm for adults, children, and animals residing in homes where this violence occurs. Utilizing cutting-edge data analysis and a unique perspective on violence in the home, he provides education for agencies across the country and assists in developing more efficient and effective community responses to physical and emotional violence. Andrew’s several recent publications in major academic journals include his analysis of nearly 10,000 police officer reports and observations from the scene of domestic violence incidents and are among the first in academic literature to use law enforcement data to quantify risk of harm/injury in this manner.

More of Andrew's research:

From the May/June 2019 Issue of Sheriff & Deputy: Defending the Defenseless

Animal abuse covers a range of offenses from neglect to torture, and it is present in every part of the country. The National Sheriffs' Association has long championed the rights of animals to be treated humanely, making the enfrocement of laws against animal cruelty and the prosecution of animal abuse crimes priorities. And with the discovery that such crimes can often signal other antisocial behaviors, it's now more important than ever for sheriffs' offices to watch out for and prevent such heinous acts.

Read the entire article, "Defending the Defenseless," here.

JUST RELEASED: 2019 Special Edition of Sheriff & Deputy!

We first created a special issue back in 2014, but we recently published an updated version with new content for 2019! 

If your agency would like to order multiple copies, please email They come in boxes of 100, but we can mail you fewer quantities if needed.

You can also download an electronic version of the magazine by clicking here or on the cover >>>

If you want to read the 2014 issue, please click here.

NSA and COPS Office release new animal cruelty resource for law enforcement [2018].

“This publication discusses the fact that crimes of cruelty to animals are often precursors to crimes of violence and abuse against people. It outlines the ways in which law enforcement practitioners’ maintaining awareness of animal cruelty—including by bridging the communication gap with their colleagues in animal control—can expose warning signs in homes of the possibility or likelihood that other crimes are imminent and may help anticipate and prevent those crimes before they are committed,” said COPS Director Phil Keith.

“Our research has shown if somebody is harming an animal, there is a good chance they also are hurting or will hurt a human. If we can see patterns of animal abuse, the odds are that something else is going on,” said John Thompson, former Deputy Executive Director of the National Sheriffs’ Association.

The white paper and links to the mobile application are available at

NLECAA is proud to be working on a national training curriculum on law enforcement dog encounters training (LEDET), with a companion virtual scenario training package created by VirTra, Inc.

Click here to learn more.

Need to report animal abuse/cruelty? Check out this valuable resource from the National Link Coalition on how to report animal abuse in your state. 

RedRover releases infographic to help recognize abusive relationships involving pet abuse/animal cruelty.

National Sheriffs' Association President announces formation of Animal Cruelty Committee on 07.25.2018 [Press Release]

JUST RELEASED 07.18.2018:
Animal Cruelty: A Possible Warning Behavior for Terrorism and Other Premeditated Violence against Humans Which Needs Reporting and Further Vetting

The Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team - a collaboration between the National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI - released a new addition to its First Responder's Toolbox series, Animal Cruelty: A Possible Warning Behavior for Terrorism and Other Premeditated Violence against Humans Which Needs Reporting and Further Vetting.

The report acknowledges the connection between animal cruelty/abuse and future acts of targeted violent crimes against humans. It outlines the importance of reporting and vetting animal cruelty cases and stresses the need for multidisciplinary cooperation in investigating and prosecuting them. The report also gives some basic tips in investigating animal cruelty cases. 

Read the entire report here.

Check out this infographic that highlights the things John Thompson, former Deputy Executive Director of the National Sheriffs Association, discussed during his webinar including the misunderstood nature of animal abuse crimes, and their link to violence against humans.

Click for full infographic

Also, check out John's webinar, Partners in Crime: The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Abuse, as well as John's interview with JCH's Christina McCale, "The Link between Animal and Human Abuse: An Interview with John Thompson." 

See all the animal cruelty/animal abuse-related webinars JCH has scheduled for 2018 and 2019!

The National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse was established to provide law enforcement officers information on the realities of animal abuse and to promote their proactive involvement in the enforcement of animal abuse laws in their communities. Through our partners, the Center will serve as an information clearinghouse and forum for law enforcement on the growing problem of animal abuse and its link to other types of crimes, including violence against humans. Additionally, NLECAA seeks to train and education officers on how to handle officer-dog encounters more safely.


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Roll Call Videos

The National Sheriffs’ Association has teamed up with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to produce roll call training videos covering topics in animal abuse. The goal of the video series is to alert law enforcement officers to various types of animal cruelty crimes and how to investigate them, while working within their rigorous schedules. This allows agencies to keep officers up-to-date on animal cruelty crimes in their community through quick but efficient videos that can be built into their daily work.

There are currently two videos available – “Cruelty and Neglect” and “Dog Fighting” – with plans for additional videos in the future. They feature experts in the subjects and are both prefaced by a message from former NSA Deputy Executive Director John Thompson. Thompson is a vocal advocate from law enforcement in the realm of animal welfare and was integral in getting the FBI to finally include animal cruelty amongst its trackable offenses in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

The link between animal abuse and subsequent or concurrent human violence is proven by research and it is imperative that law enforcement officers understand this link. These crimes typically involve more victims than just the animal. “If somebody is harming an animal, there is a good chance they also are hurting a human,” said Thompson. “If we see patterns of animal abuse, the odds are that something else is going on.” That’s why it’s crucial for law enforcement to be able to understand and recognize animal abuse crimes for the protection of everyone in their communities.

The HSUS provides no-cost training and support to law enforcement agencies across the country in handling animal abuse cases. For access to the videos, please contact Ashley Mauceri ( or April Doherty ( If you’d like more information on resources available to law enforcement to combat animal abuse, contact the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse (NLECAA), a program within NSA, at

About our partnership with the HSUS.


Chelsea Rider, Director