The Connection between Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty
How Is Animal Abuse Related to Domestic Violence?
In recent years, researchers have documented a strong connection between animal abuse and domestic violence.
- A study from 11 U.S. cities revealed that a history of pet abuse is one of the four most significant indicators of who is at greatest risk of becoming a domestic batterer.
- A Texas study found that batterers who also abuse pets are more dangerous and use more violent and controlling behaviors than those who do not harm animals.
- Twelve separate studies have reported that between 18 and 48 percent of battered women, and their children, delay leaving abusive situations in fear for what might happen to their animals.
- Women who do seek safety at shelters are nearly 11 times more likely to report that their partner has hurt or killed their animals than women who have not experienced domestic abuse.
- In Wisconsin, 68 percent of battered women revealed that abusive partners had also been violent toward pets or livestock; more than three-quarters of these cases occurred in the presence of the women and/or children to intimidate and control them.
- Children who are exposed to domestic violence were three times more likely to be cruel to animals.
- The Chicago Police Department found that approximately 30 percent of individuals arrested for dog fighting and animal abuse had domestic violence charges on their records.
These numbers are too high. There is legitimate evidence that people 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. These cycles of violence often start with animal abuse—and they must be stopped.