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26 January 2011 Issue

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Domestic Violence Against Family Pets Inclusion Very Important

Author Unknown
Your Governor, Your State Senate, and Your State House

Relating to Domestic Violence Against Family Pets Inclusion very important. Pets are often the victims of domestic violence-this act of animal cruelty is part of committing domestic violence, a tool to terrorize children and women, including as a threat of bodily harm. This will bring a charge of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE when an animal is abused to terrorize a child or family member; from the research this almost always happens.

Domestic Violence Against Family Pets; Redefines the term "domestic violence" to include inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury against an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by one family or household member by another family or household member, or placing a family or household member in fear of physical harm to an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by that family or household member, etc.

Thank you for your consideration.


--85% of women and 63% of children seeking SHELTER from Domestic Violence report animal abuse in the home.

(An Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection)

"Of 50 shelters surveyed about women and children escaping from domestic violence, 85% said that women in their shelter talked about pet abuse, 63% of children talked about pet abuse, and 83% said that they had observed the coexistence of domestic violence and pet abuse."

The Abuse of Animals and Domestic Violence: A National Survey of Shelters for Women Who Are Battered."
By Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D., Claudia V. Weber, M.S., and David S. Wood, Utah State University, Logan, Utah. Society and Animals, 5(3): 205-218. 1997.

Further research indicates that 70% to 75% of women reporting domestic violence also reported that their partner had threatened and/or actually hurt or killed one or more of their pets. Actual (as distinct from threatened) harm to pets represented the majority (57%) of reports.

The Connection Between Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty

How is Animal Abuse Related to Domestic Violence?

In recent years, a strong connection has been documented linking animal abuse and domestic violence. A New Jersey study found that in 88 percent of families where there had been physical abuse of children, there were also records of animal abuse. In Wisconsin, battered women revealed that in four out of five cases, abusive partners had also been violent toward pets or livestock. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence conducted its own study in which 85.4 percent of women and 63.0 percent of children reported incidents of pet abuse after arriving at domestic violence shelters. The Chicago Police Department's Domestic Violence Program took a look at the criminal histories of animal fighting/animal abuse arrestees for 2000-2001 and found that approximately 30 percent had domestic violence charges on their records. There is legitimate evidence that the individuals involved in violent acts against animals present a danger to the public that must be addressed. Intentional animal abuse is often seen in association with other serious crimes including drug offenses, gang activity, weapons violations, sexual assault and domestic violence—and can be one of the most visible parts of an entire history of aggressive or antisocial behavior.

Why do Abusers Batter Animals?

* To demonstrate power and control over the family
* To isolate the victim and children
* To enforce submission
* To perpetuate an environment of fear
* To prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her to return
* To punish for leaving or showing independence

71% of abused women report that their batterers have threatened to hurt/kill their pets and have done so.
32% of battered women with children report that their children have hurt or killed pets.
25%-48% of battered women delay leaving an abusive situation for fear of what will happen to her pet if left behind.
40% of battered women report that they have been forced to participate in sexual acts with animals as part of their domestic terrorization.

Sex Offenders:
48% of rapists have committed acts of animal cruelty as children or adolescents.
30% of child molesters have committed acts of animal cruelty as children or adolescents
15% of all active rapists also rape animals.

Child Abuse:
80% of homes in which animal control agencies found abused/neglected pets there had been previous investigations by child welfare agencies of physical abuse and neglect.


1966- Hellman & Blackman. Established that cruelty to animals is part of a triad of behaviors useful for predicting criminal behavior.

1971- Tapia.

1977- Rigdon & Tapia. Provided the first clear description and systematic study of children who commit animal cruelty. It established the typical animal abuser as being a male of average intelligence with an early history of antisocial behavior, with a childhood history that is likely to include gross neglect, brutality, rejection and hostility.

1980- Felthous. Studied two groups of male psychiatric patients, one with an assaultive history, and one with a history of animal cruelty. The second group was significantly more likely to have had an alcoholic father, set destructive fires, had enuresis past age five, been separated from the father, and cruelty was more severe towards cats than dogs.

1983- Deviney, Dickert & Lockwood. Studied fifty-three families in New Jersey suffering from domestic violence, and found that 60% reported that pets were also abused and/or neglected.

1985- Kellert & Felthous. Studied the relationship between cruelty to animals and aggression among criminals and noncriminals. They found significantly higher rates of cruelty toward animals among aggressive criminals.

1986- Kellert & Felthous. Follow-up study to predict future violence.

1991- Hickey. Found that in some cases killing animals was to relive the experience of killing human beings.

1993- Ascione. Cruelty to animals is a serious manifestation of psychopathology particularly when paired with other symptoms and a troubled family history.

1995- Schecter & Edleson.

1997- Edleson. Both the 1995 and 1997 studies found that children growing up in homes where there is domestic violence are at risk for psychological disturbance, with one sign being cruelty to animals.

1997- Ascione. This study surveyed thirty-eight women seeking shelter at a safehouse and found that 74% reported having a pet killed and 71% reported the pet(s) were threatened or harmed.

1997- Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northwestern University. Examined criminal records of 153 animal abusers and 153 non-abusers over a twenty-year period. The study found that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes than non-abusers.


American Humane Association. (1991). Report on the summit on violence toward children and animals, Nov. 1-3, 1991. Englewood, CO: AHA.American Humane Association. (1992). Protecting children and animals: Agenda for a non-violent future. Englewood, CO: AHA.American Humane Association. (1995). A training guide for recognizing and reporting child abuse for animal control officers and humane investigators. Englewood, CO: AHA.American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd ed., Washington, D.C.: APA.American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., Washington, D.C.: APA.American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (1996). Should vets tell? Part of what veterinarians do is treat animal victims of violence. Should they also report violence? New York, NY: ASPCA.American Veterinary Medical Association. (1992). The veterinary service market for companion animals. Schaumburg, IL: AVMA.Arkow, P. (1994a). Animal abuse and domestic violence: Intake statistics tell a sad story. Latham Letter, XV (2), 17.Arkow, P. (1994b). Child abuse, animal abuse, and the veterinarian. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 204 (7), 1004-1007.Ascione, F.R. (1993). Children who are cruel to animals: A review of the research and implications for developmental psychopathology. Anthrozoos, VI (4), 226-247.Ascione, F.R. (1996). Domestic Violence and Cruelty to Animals. Latham Letter, XVII (1), 1-16.Ascione, F.R. and Weber, C. (1995). Battered partners shelter survey. Logan, UT: Utah State University.Beirne, Piers. (1997). Rethinking bestiality: Toward a concept of interspecies sexual assault. Journal of Theoretical Criminology, 1 (3), 317-340.Boat, B. (1995). The relationship between violence to children and violence to animals: An Ignored Link? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10 (4), 229-235.DeViney, E., Dickert, J., and Lockwood, R. (1983). The care of pets within child abusing families. International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems, 4, 321-329.Dutton, M.A. (1992). Empowering and healing the battered woman. New York, NY: Springer.Faller, K.C. (1990). Understanding child sexual maltreatment. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Felthous, A.R. (1980). Aggression against cats, dogs, and people. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 10 (3), 169-177.Felthous, A.R. and Kellert, S.R. (1986). Violence against animals and people: Is aggression against living creatures generalized? Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 14 (1), 5569.Finkelhor, D., Williams, L.M., and Burns, N. (1988). Nursery crimes: Sexual abuse in daycare. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Geddes, V.C. (1977). Enuresis, fire setting and animal cruelty, a follow-up study to review the hypothesis in reference to the prediction of violence. MS Thesis, Department of Criminal Justice, California State University, Long Beach, CA.Lockwood, R., and Ascione, F.R. (1998). Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence: Readings in Research and Application. West Layfayette, IN: Purdue University Press.

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