Topic Monday: Domestic Violence Series—Pet Abuse
The ASPCA reports that “one of the four most significant indicators of who is at greatest risk of becoming a domestic batterer. “ Children that have been abused, often begin to abuse by taking out their frustration and anger on the animals in the family.
Pet abuse is cruelty, maltreatment and neglect to animals. We often hear of cases of puppy mills, dog fights, animal hoarders, laboratory test and overcrowded rescue centers. However, we don’t hear as much about domestic violence towards animals.
According to the AmericanHumane.org:
- 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32% reported their children had hurt or killed animals.
- 68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically control and coerce them.
- In one study, 70% of animal abusers also had records for other crimes. Domestic violence victims whose animals were abused saw the animal cruelty as one more violent episode in a long history of indiscriminate violence aimed at them and their vulnerability.
- For many battered women, pets are sources of comfort providing strong emotional support: 98% of Americans consider pets to be companions or members of the family.
- Battered women have been known to live in their cars with their pets for as long as four months until an opening was available at a pet-friendly safe house.
So why do abusers batter animals? Usually, it is to show power and control over the family, often the pet may be punished or abused in order for the abuser to psychologically abuse and cause fear in his victim.
If you suspect an animal is being abused contact your local authorities, ASPCA or humane society.
Would you stand up for an animal that is being abused?