The New York Times Magazine recently published “The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome,” an in-depth look at the correlation between animal abuse and other criminal activity. Animal abuse has long been linked to domestic violence, firearms possession, and drug trafficking, among other crimes, on an anecdotal basis. Now, however, scientific research proves the link, and law enforcement officials are taking animal-abuse cases very seriously.
One of the most direct links is between animal abuse and domestic violence. According to 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.
While the statistics are disheartening, law enforcement officials are starting to work together to tackle both animal abuse and domestic violence. Veterinarians are being trained to report suspected abuse to the police who are being cross-trained to follow up with the families for signs of domestic abuse.
Great strides are being made in combating animal abuse and cruelty. But the most important thing that we all can do is report suspected animal abuse to stop abusers in their tracks. So what should you do if you suspect an animal is being abused?
- First, familiarize yourself with signs to watch for in potentially abused animals.
- Never confront a potential abuser by yourself. There are law-enforcement officials who are trained to investigate and handle those situations.
- Contact your local humane association and/or your local police.
- Support the creation of an animal abuse registry to track animal abusers.