Today marks the end of Animal Cruelty and Human Violence Awareness week, a time to discuss the growing body of evidence demonstrating the strong connection between animal abuse and other forms of family and community violence.
Law enforcement agencies, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police have expressed concern about the relationship between animal cruelty, domestic violence, child and elder abuse, usually referred to as “The Link”. Studies have confirmed a relationship between animal abuse and other violent crimes.
Download our fact sheet on animal cruelty and human violence.
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore
We asked Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, vice president of animal welfare at the ARL, for her perspective on the link between animal cruelty and human violence. Here’s what she had to say:
ARL Blog: How would you define “animal abuse?”
Dr. Smith-Blackmore: Animal abuse can include physical abuse (non-accidental injury), emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and staged animal fights.
Physical abuse is characterized by the deliberate inflicting of injuries or causing pain, including inappropriate methods of training. Emotional abuse may include repeated or sustained ‘mental violence’(intimidation through loud yelling or threatening behaviors) or deliberate isolation through the withholding social interactions.
Neglect is the failure to provide adequate levels of food, water, shelter, and veterinary care to animals. Sexual abuse includes any sexual conduct with animals, which may or may not result in physical injury to the animal.
Unfortunately, examples of all of these kinds of animal abuse have been investigated by the ARL’s Law Enforcement department. Last year alone, our Law Enforcement team led or assisted in the investigation of 576 cruelty cases.
ARL Blog: Most people would agree that reporting animal cruelty helps the animals involved and for that reason is importance to do. But is there an even bigger impact reporting animal cruelty has on a community?
Dr. Smith-Blackmore: Absolutely. Animal abuse is an important social issue affecting animals, families, and communities.
Recognizing and reporting animal abuse is especially important, due to the link between animal abuse and human violence. A correlation between animal abuse, family violence and other forms of community violence has been established.
Family and animal protection professionals have recognized this connection, noting that abuse of children, elders, domestic partners and animals result in a self-perpetuating cycle of violence.
ARL Blog: So reporting concerns about animal cruelty can really make a difference to both animals and people?
Dr. Smith-Blackmore: Yes, when animals in a home are abused or neglected, it’s a warning sign that others in the household may not be safe. In addition, children who witness animal abuse are harmed and are also at a greater risk of becoming abusers themselves.
Laws provide animals with protection from abuse; however successful prosecution depends on reporting by witnesses to law enforcement authorities. Protecting animals and creating safe and humane communities has to be a priority for us all.
Learn more about animal cruelty and domestic violence.
Bunnies and Easter go hand-in-hand, but when deciding on giving a rabbit as an Easter gift, consider the chocolate, candy and stuffed animal toy kind first, and if you’re really serious, then think about ADOPTing a rabbit. Adding a real, live rabbit to your family should be a well thought-out decision.
SUNSHINE is currently available at the ARL’s Boston shelter.
Here’s what you should know about rabbits:
They should live indoors.
They have a lifespan of about 10 years.
Rabbits are sensitive and can be stressed out by small children.
They like to chew on cords and furniture, so your home must be bunny-proofed.
Rabbits should be neutered or spayed or they will mark your house.
Marianne G., Manager of our Boston shelter, has the following advice “if you are thinking about adopting a rabbit this Easter remember to ask yourself the question, ‘Was I interested in a rabbit before Spring or am I getting caught up by the holiday fever?’” She also notes that “rabbits make fun and entertaining pets. It can be an exciting surprise to add one to your family at Easter time as long as you have considered the commitment and the care that will last long after you’ve devoured your last Cadbury Crème Egg!”
As a reminder that April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, today we’re sharing a video featuring Lt. Alan Borgal, director of the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection. Lt. Borgal emphasizes the link between cruelty to animals and family and community violence and encourages you to contact local authorities if you suspect animal cruelty or neglect. Remember YOU can give a voice to the victims of animal cruelty, if when you see something, you say something!
A very special thanks to GreatGrandPaws for producing the video for us!
Subtle indications that may indicate an animal is at risk
During Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month this April, we want to help the public better understand the importance of reporting suspected animal cruelty to local authorities.
While most members of the public recognize that punching, kicking, burning, choking, or hitting an animal with an object are acts of animal cruelty, there are some more subtle signs to watch for that could indicate mistreatment, neglect, or abuse:
A total of 60 cats were spayed or neutered. It turned out that two of the cats were friendly strays and we were able to take them in to our Boston shelter. They should be available for adoption soon.
Our group of volunteers included 6 surgeons and a Tuft’s student and an additional 23 volunteers! Without all of them, our Feral Cat Clinics would not be possible.
We’d also like to thank Cask n’ Flagon for generously donating lunch for our volunteers to help get them through the long day!
Our Feral Cat Clinics are in their 5th year and are gaining momentum with each clinic. Great job everyone!
If you’re interested in becoming a trapper and helping TNR (trap/neuter/release) a feral cat community near you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org today. We are always in need of more feral cat trappers.
Bruschi, his new fam, staff ,and volunteers on the day he was adopted.
Happy Mutt Monday! Start your week off with a heartwarming update about a lovable dog named Bruschi.
When Bruschi came in to the Animal Rescue League in October of 2013, we knew he was special. This lovable big boy adored human attention and would do just about anything for a hug. He quickly became a staff and volunteer favorite and received that attention he so desperately craved!
It took a little over a month for Bruschi to find a home, but when he did, boy did he score big! He was adopted on November 25, 2013 by Lauren and Tom and had a heartfelt send-off. Since his adoption they’ve kept the ARL staff up-to-date with Bruschi’s daily life and progress.
Here’s their latest note:
“Hi ARL staff!
Bruschi is doing great – He’s truly a part of our family. He is so happy the snow is melting finally, and he loves to play catch with tennis balls! He also loves to cuddle as you see [in the pictures]! He is so gentle and is a big baby. We love him and couldn’t be more grateful that we had the chance to adopt him! We will have to bring him in soon to visit!” - Lauren, Tom & Bruschi
The family out in the snow.
Bruschi is all smiles.
We currently have several very friendly Pit Bull-type dogs available for adoption at our Boston shelter. View them online or stop by during adoption hours, Tuesday – Thursdfay 1p.m.-7p.m. and Friday – Sunday 1p.m.-4p.m.).