Previously, animal abuse was categorized as "other", and lumped together with smaller crimes. This categorization lessened the priority of this crime, and made it really difficult to locate, track, and count. Now, the FBI will categorize this crime as a Group A offense...

and track it individually, allowing for more clout for anti-abuse laws in all 50 states. Other Group A crimes include homicide, assault, and arson. The FBI has subdivided animal cruelty into four abuse categories: neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse (e.g., dog and cock fighting), and animal sexual abuse.

It's really hard to think that there are people out there that sexually abuse animals, but unfortunately this is true. It's good to see the FBI taking animal abuse much more serious now. Animal lovers know that if someone can do that to an animal, doing the same thing to a human is an easy step for these criminals.

More info is available at fbi.gov