The LINK: Child Abuse and Animal Abuse

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gandhi once said: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by how people treat their animals.” We as a people are still unraveling the web of inhumane treatment, either of the two or four legged variety. We know that animal abuse may be intertwined with abuse against humans. We also know that when a child intentionally injures an animal, and derives pleasure from it, it may be a red flag in terms of that child being a victim of maltreatment. Even if a child witnesses animal abuse, they could then learn to abuse animals as well and then perhaps move on to humans.

Confusing??? Yeah, but it can be quite clear too. It seems that ANY type of abuse can be interlinked…no matter who is on the receiving end: animal, child, elderly, or domestic partner. To be even clearer, ANYONE who witnesses animal abuse should report it to the authorities, suggesting to them that they also should check on all family members. In Indiana, we do not have laws which mandate “cross -training” or “cross-reporting” between human services and animal services…so that we may find either victim quicker. Other states are working toward this end.

**Special Note: When women and their children seek a domestic violence shelter, their pets at home are more at risk to be harmed by the abuser. Many women will not leave the pets behind, yet there may not be any place to house the pets at the shelter. There is an enormous need to offer shelter to these animals, temporarily, while the family re-organizes their lives.

You may want to check out other resources regarding this topic:

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