Animals and Domestic Violence

Animals and Domestic Violence -By Mina R Raulston June 14, 2010

Animals are a very important but many times neglected subject when it comes to the issue of domestic violence. When people think of domestic violence they usually think of how it affects the people involved but rarely are animals considered. But, animals affect the subject of domestic violence in two very important ways.

First, if family members must flee their home and seek safety in a domestic violence shelter, what do they do with the family pet? Only a few domestic violence shelters provide for shelter for family pets. Why, you ask, is this important? In domestic violence cases it has been proven that an abuser will injure or kill a beloved pet in order to punish a victim or prove to a victim that their threats of violence are real and not empty.

In an interview that I did several years ago on the subject of animals and domestic violence the director of the Montgomery County Ohio Animal Shelter informed me that whenever animal shelter employees discover animal abuse in a home they inform social services so that they can investigate the possibility of spouse or child abuse because they are usually found together.

In my next post we will discuss the abuse of animals as a precursor to abuse of family members.