According to researchers, animal abuse goes hand in hand with domestic violence. Studies have shown that, “85% of women in domestic violence shelters report that their pets were also harmed by their abusers.”1 Family and animal abuse not only occur together but they also fuel a larger cycle of abuse as a whole. When children witness abuse of people and animals, they become desensitized to it and see it as normal behavior. According to psychologist Dr. Eleonora Gullone, studies show that “childhood animal abuse increases in families where there is also domestic violence.”2 This is worrisome, as researchers have found that recurring childhood animal aggression is co-related with recurring aggression towards others as adults. Basically, children who are consistently cruel to animals as kids do not grow out of it, and continue to abuse others as adults.
What you can do? Break the cycle of abuse by modeling appropriate behaviors and actions to children. Dr. Gullone adds that, “children are very strongly influenced by the people who mean a lot in their lives.”3 The best way to lead is to model kindness towards everyone, from people to pets.
Also, if you see something, say something! If you would like to anonymously report animal abuse, contact your nearest animal care center. Please find out where you nearest animal care center is here http://animalcare.lacounty.gov/animal-care-centers/. If you need help for domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Nobody – human or animal – should live in a climate of fear and abuse.
1 Amanda Carroza, “Top Animal Companies Form Coalition to Pass Domestic Violence Law,” Veterinarian’s Money Digest, last modified July 31st, 2018.
2 Phil Arkow, ed. “Corporations, Nonprofits Push for Passage of PAWS Act.” The LINK-Letter 11, no. 4 (2018): 4.