The Association Between Pet Care and Deviant Household Behaviors
An Animal Rights Article from


Humane Research Council
February 2010

By William J. Fielding and Susan Plumridge in Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals

Full Title: The Association between Pet Care and Deviant Household Behaviors in an Afro-Caribbean, College Student Community in New Providence, The Bahamas


The link between domestic violence, both at the household and personal levels, other deviant behaviors, and pet care was observed through survey responses from 641 college students in New Providence, The Bahamas. The “link” with domestic violence at the household level was found both when pets were intentionally harmed and when pets were “not well cared for,” and between the respondent being a victim of domestic violence and the intentional harm of pets.

The prevalence of alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, illegal drug use, and the presence of a convicted criminal in the household were higher in households where animals were intentionally harmed; similar results were seen when animals were not well cared for. Violence as a means of disciplining pets was common. The data suggest that within an Afro-Caribbean society, cross-reporting may be beneficial in identifying households at greater risk of domestic violence, through careful monitoring of animal care as well as intentional cruelty. Educating pet caregivers to train animals non-violently may be a way of reducing violence towards domestic pets and, possibly, humans.

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