Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

Recently, I came across this fascinating but sad topic on the link between animal abuse and domestic violence. While the everyday person will probably never be in a position to recognise this (I would think vets, doctors, friends, etc. have more opportunity), it might be good to bring some awareness to this issue. You never know what you might come across.

Some terrible stats:

  • 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
  • 68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically control and coerce them.
  • 25-40% of battered women are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets or livestock should they leave.

See more stats and information at the American Humane Association.

On the vet side of things, a recently published study in Australia reported that there were 5 features of fractures that could be indicative of a non-accidental/abuse injury. These include fractures in multiple parts of the body, or at different stages of healing. Interestingly, these features correlate with fracture patterns seen in humans suffering the same ‘non-accidents’.

What We Can Do:

Encourage women’s shelters to add questions about pets and build kennels.

Encourage animal shelters, vets and rescue groups to establish foster care programs for the animal victims.