According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), “abusers of animals are five times as likely to harm humans. Nearly half of the victims who stay in violent households do so because they are afraid for their animals.”
Children who have witnessed abuse of other humans or animals or both are at greater risk of becoming abusers. Additionally, “Children in violent households, who have likely been abused themselves, represent one-fifth of domestic animal cruelty cases.”
When animal abusers are given a slap on the wrist by the court, or are not even charged for their crime, what message is our legal system sending to them and to their families? Could it be that animals are expendable and, ultimately, so are they? For some people who have been abused and seen their animals abused too, that is most likely the message they receive.
We need to change the message. We need to report animal abuse whenever and wherever we see it. We need to help people living in abusive situations by giving them the resources to seek safety and to be able to bring their animals to safety too. And we need to make our voices known in the law enforcement and judicial system: we want animal abuse investigated and we want offenders prosecuted and we will not tolerate animal abuse on our communities.
According to ALDF, “On average, a victim attempts to leave an abusive situation up to seven times before getting out for good.” Some, however, never get the chance.
When you think about it…whether the violence is against a human, a guinea pig, a peacock, a dog, a horse, or any other animal, we must never condone it.