Center for the Study of NIBRS Animal Cruelty Data

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects and organizes information on crime in the United States. Police departments across the country submit crime data to the UCR Program via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Data in NIBRS can then be accessed and analyzed to increase our understanding of criminal patterns and inform efforts to address criminal activity.

AWI was instrumental in convincing the FBI, in 2014, to include animal cruelty as a distinct crime within NIBRS. Reporting on animal cruelty crimes began on January 1, 2016. Since then, AWI has actively encouraged analysis of this data to inform policymakers, law enforcement, researchers, and advocates so that more effective interventions can be designed to better protect both animals and the communities in which they live.

To further facilitate and encourage the use of NIBRS animal cruelty data, AWI established the Center for the Study of NIBRS Animal Cruelty Data (the Center). The Center’s website, featuring a condensed version of the NIBRS database, will provide researchers with readily analyzable animal cruelty data in both SPSS and Excel formats.

The Center’s data are derived from the NIBRS datasets maintained by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research’s National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD). The NACJD houses criminal justice data sources, including the NIBRS data. NIBRS animal cruelty data from the years 2016–2022 can be accessed below. Data from 2023 and beyond will be posted as they become available.

NIBRS Animal Cruelty Data by Year

In addition to the animal cruelty data files, available in SPSS and excel format, each year’s files include the user guide, animal cruelty codebook, and animal cruelty codebook frequencies file. These files can be downloaded individually or as a package.

The Center also established an advisory board of researchers, law enforcement officials, policymakers, and practitioners that will offer recommendations for research directions as well as assist in the dissemination of the Center’s goals and activities.

The Center for the Study of NIBRS Animal Cruelty Data Advisory Board

Bethany Backes, PhD, MSW, MPH
Associate Professor, Violence Against Women Faculty Cluster
Department of Criminal Justice and School of Social Work
University of Central Florida | Orlando, Florida
[email protected]

Maya Gupta, PhD
Senior Director, Research
Strategy and Research 
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals | New York, NY 
347-978-5361 | [email protected]

Brinda India Jegatheesan, MEd, PhD
Associate Professor, Learning Science and Human Development
Early Childhood and Family Studies | Anthrozoology
University of Washington | Seattle, Washington
[email protected] 

Nathan H. Perkins, PhD, MSW
Assistant Professor, School of Social Work 
Loyola University Chicago | Chicago, IL
312-915-7035 | [email protected]

Keon C. Turner
Manager, Data Analysis and Reporting Team (DART)
Virginia State Police | Richmond, Virginia
804-674-2143 | [email protected]

Michael Vaughn, PhD
Professor, School of Social Work
Director, PhD in Social Work Program
St. Louis University | St. Louis, Missouri
[email protected]

K. Michelle Welch, Esq
Senior Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General | Richmond, Virginia 
804- 225-4776 | [email protected]

The Center for the Study of NIBRS Animal Cruelty Data Personnel

  • Lynn Addington, JD, PhD,  American University, AWI Consultant
  • Claire Coughlin, MA, AWI Program Coordinator
  • Mary Lou Randour, PhD, AWI Consultant

For questions about the Center, contact Dr. Randour at [email protected].


Publications which have used NIBRS animal cruelty data include:

  • Addington, L. & Randour, M.L. (2024). Using National Incident-Based Reporting System Data to Explore Animal Cruelty Incidents that Occur with Intimate Partner and Family Violence: A Brief Report. Journal of Family Violence.
  • Randour, M.L., Kearley, A., & Wreman, M. (2023). Examining law enforcement agencies’ responses to the addition of Animal cruelty to NIBRS. American Journal of Criminal Justice.
  • Addington, L.A. & Randour, M.L. (2022). Intentional cruelty versus neglect: New insights on animal cruelty crimes and implications for policy. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 1-23. DOI: 10.1177/08874034221098918
  • Palais, J. M. (2021). Using the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) to study animal cruelty: Preliminary results (2016-2019). Soc. Sci., 10(10), 378.
  • Palais, J.M. (2021) Animal cruelty hurts people too: How animal cruelty crime data can help police make their communities safer for all. Police Chief.