Animal cruelty is a problem in our society.
Domestic violence is a problem in our society.
But did you know the two often go hand-in-hand?
Indeed, 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 (NCADV).
Disturbed children kill or harm animals to emulate their parents’ conduct, to prevent the abuser from killing the pet, or to take out their aggressions on another victim more helpless than themselves.
So those animals that are found horribly mutilated? Animals abandoned in deserted areas or the middle of an Interstate? Animals found dead and stuffed in trash bins? Those could be beloved pets of victims of domestic violence.
It’s frightening. Also upsetting is the fact that many women remain in the home with an abuser because they don’t want to leave the animals behind. She fears what will happen to them should she leave, and she has nowhere for her beloved animals to go.
For those of us who want to see an end to animal cruelty, we must embrace the magnitude of the problem. If you want to help, here are some things you can do:
Find out if domestic violence shelters in your area provide care for pets. If not, help them find a way to get those animals cared for, perhaps through partnerships with animal rescue groups or through the community Humane Society.
If you suspect abuse in a family, offer to care for the pets if she leaves if you’re able to do so for an extended period of time.
Often victims will not talk about abuse inflicted in themselves, but will tell of abuse inflicted on a beloved animal. Start by asking about the pets.
If you work in a vet clinic and you suspect animal abuse, don’t be silent. You will help more than just the animal. You may save a human victim as well.