The Cruelty Connection

The Cruelty Connection

Is there a connection between animal cruelty and human violence?

Research has shown that there is a connection between animal abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, bullying and other forms of violence. Intentional animal cruelty or abuse can be a warning sign that an individual has already experienced violence and may be predisposed to committing other crimes such as vandalism, arson, physical assault and even murder. A child who has abused an animal could be the victim of abuse and are at a greater risk of mimicking the abusive behaviour. If it goes unreported….everyone suffers.

What is the connection between animal cruelty and family violence?

Animal cruelty and/or abuse in the family represents a hierarchy of power and control. It is used to manipulate, control and isolate a victim of domestic violence. Pets are generally considered a part of the family and ultimately can share the suffering that occurs when there is violence in the home. The abuser may use violence, or threat of violence against animals, to terrorize, manipulate and control the human victim. Killing or removing the family pet can isolate the person who is being abused. Some victims will stay in destructive relationship due to threats against, or out of concern for, their companion animals. Animals may even be used to perpetrate sexual abuse. There is strong evidence connecting animals’ abuse, domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse. This sometimes can even escalate to individuals outside of the family.

Calgary Humane Society Research

The Calgary Humane Society undertook a collaborative study with the YWCA Family Violence Prevention Centre, the Sheriff King Home and with researcher Sue McIntosh that was supported by RESOLVE Alberta. The 2001 study showed a direct connection between family violence and animal abuse in Calgary. It also indicated that animal cruelty may be a warning of future violence.

Here are key study results:

  • 56% of participants reported their abuser had threatened to hurt or kill or had actually hurt or killed a family pet
  • 65% reported their children were aware their pets had been hurt or killed and felt their children had been impacted
  • 25% of participants reported they had delayed their decision to leave their situation out of fear for their pet’s safety
  • 21% reported their abusive partners had abused animals as a child
  • 16% reported concerns their children may have hurt or killed a pet

Without intervention, the cycle of violence will continue. It’s important to be responsible and take the opportunity to intervene when people or animals are abused end the cycle of violence.


reprinted from Calgary Humane Society


More reading —

The Animal Cruelty Syndrome, NY Times


Support GOOD Animal Cruelty Legislation!

Support GOOD Animal Cruelty Legislation!

Canadians must speak out to stop the passage of ineffective, outdated animal cruelty legislation from being passed in our House of Commons.

BILL S-203

Bill S-203 is a private member’s bill in the Senate. It has passed the Senate, passed Second Reading in the House and is awaiting debate by the Justice and Human Rights Committee, likely this fall.

Bill S-203 makes NO changes to today’s archaic and wholly inadequate offences; it will only increase the penalties. Increased penalties are important, but ultimately meaningless when the offences are so problematic that many cases can’t even be prosecuted.

Bill S-203

* makes it difficult to prosecute cases of neglect, even when dozens of animals have been starved to death
* allows the training of animals for dog fights, cockfights or other types of animal fighting
* permits killing stray or wild animals for no particular reason
* provides extra protection for cattle and other animals and less protection for stray or wild animals
* doesn’t make it a crime to kill animals brutally or viciously
* considers animal cruelty a property offence
* doesn’t offer specific protection for law enforcement animals

BILL C-229 (formerly titled C-373)

Bill C-229 (formerly known as Bill C-373), a private member’s bill in the House, would fix all of the above problems, as well as increase the penalties. This bill is virtually identical to one that came excruciatingly close to being passed in 2003 when it was supported unanimously in the House of Commons.

That bill was also supported by a huge number of animal use industries representing farmers, trappers and scientific researchers, as well as veterinarians, police associations and animal protection groups.

Unfortunately, the Senate stood in the way of that bill and then it died when Parliament dissolved.

Here’s what you can do to help

PETITIONS

You can participate in our petition drive by signing the online petition or printing the paper version of the petition and circulating it in your area.

PLEASE NOTE! Paper and ink petitions are way more effective and carry much more weight in the House of Commons! Canadian residents, please be sure to print, sign and send in paper petition as well if at all possible!

LETTERS

Send a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to PASS Bill C-229 to amend the Animal Cruelty Law. Or download this one, sign it, include your address and mail it to him.



A Walk for the Sled Dogs

A Walk for the Sled Dogs

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE D.A.I.S.Y? FOUNDATION

February 12, 2011

The D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation wants the press to be aware that on Sunday, February 13th there will be a walk at Edworthy Park in Calgary at 2:00 pm in honor of the 100 sled dogs that were murdered.

At 6:00 pm there will be a candlelight vigil in Innisfail, AB behind the aquatic centre at the ball diamond also in honor of the sled dogs. We would like to see a good turnout by the public as we need to send a message of awareness.

Better monitoring of these sled dog venture companies is a must in order to ensure proper treatment of these wonderful sentient beings. The general public is outraged about this incident but they are unaware of how many sled dogs are really put down in any given year in this country. Once there is no more need for a dog, the dog is murdered.

Once again the D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation wants to thank you, the media, for making the public aware.

Heather Anderson

D.A.I.S.Y? Foundation
403-475-0120
403-835-3197


Mark Holland to BC Tory MPs – Senseless dog slaughter case cries out for tougher laws

Mark Holland to BC Tory MPs – Senseless dog slaughter case cries out for tougher laws

Mark Holland, MP for Ajax-Pickering, Public Safety Critic for the Official Opposition


From the Office of Mark Holland, M.P.
Official Opposition Critic for Public Safety

For immediate release: February 3, 2011

OTTAWA – Liberal MP and Public Safety Critic Mark Holland reached out to British Columbia Conservative MPs today, asking for their help to reform weak animal cruelty laws in light of news about a criminal investigation underway into the slaughter of one hundred dogs near Whistler, BC – a case that has shocked and outraged people across the country. Canada’s animal cruelty laws, as currently written, have loopholes that permit known abusers to evade justice after committing egregious acts of cruelty.

“These loopholes in our laws need to be closed at last,” wrote Holland in a letter to all twenty-one BC Conservative MPs.

Holland has had a private member’s bill to amend and strengthen the Criminal Code section dealing with animal cruelty crimes since 2004. Once a Liberal government justice bill, it is presently numbered C?229.

BC Conservative MPs were contacted because the dog slaughter, the nation’s latest high-profile animal cruelty case, had occurred in their home province.

“As government MPs representing British Columbia constituencies, I am hopeful that this tragic case that occurred in your home province will inspire you to work within your own party for real reforms now.”

Holland, as the Liberal Party’s Public Safety Critic, also raised public safety concerns in a bid to appeal to the Conservatives who claim a law and order agenda.

“A clear relationship exists between animal cruelty and other serious types of crimes, including spousal and child abuse, among other horrific violent crimes. By toughening our animal cruelty laws, we have a better chance of apprehending, convicting and rehabilitating abusers, making our communities safer and healthier.”

Holland has tried on several occasions to get the Harper government to take his bill and expedite it through all legislative stages. In 2009, following a horrific animal cruelty case in New Brunswick, he reached out to NB Tory MP Keith Ashfield, after hearing reports that the MP, who currently serves Minister of National Revenue, expressed an interest in Holland’s bill. Ashfield never responded to several calls made by Holland.

Assuaging concerns of partisanship, Holland stated in his letter that this “issue doesn’t fall into an ideological category. The cause for reforming our animal cruelty laws unites voters of both our parties, indeed all Canadians. It’s a real motherhood and apple pie issue.”

Holland closed off his letter appeal by inviting the BC Tory MPs to call him to discuss this issue further.

Full text of letter follows.

For more information:
Karl Maretic, Office of Mark Holland, MP
613-995-8614
(Enable Javascript to see the email address)


Letter from Mark Holland to BC Conservative MPs:

Dear [BC Colleagues],

Recent reports concerning the gruesome and senseless slaughter of one hundred husky dogs near Whistler, BC, remind us all that glaring loopholes persist in Canada’s Criminal Code that hinder the work of law enforcement and the courts to successfully prosecute and convict known perpetrators of serious acts of animal cruelty. In fact, only a tiny fraction – less than 1% – of serious animal abuse cases ever see a conviction; a problem that bill S?203 (2008) did nothing to remedy.

These loopholes in our laws need to be closed at last.

I am writing to you today to respectfully ask you to join me in advancing reasonable and responsible reforms to Canada’s outdated animal cruelty laws. The fastest way to do this would be for the government to draft and expedite its own bill, based on the amendments proposed in my private member’s bill C-229. Let’s not wait for more horrific cruelty cases to surface before we do the right thing and get such a bill through Parliament.

Canadians want action to reform animal cruelty laws.

No other issue generates as much letters, phone calls and emails as animal cruelty does. I note that I have received thousands of communications from your constituents alone living in British Columbia, and I suspect you have too. This issue doesn’t fall into an ideological category. The cause for reforming our animal cruelty laws unites voters of both our parties, indeed all Canadians. It’s a real motherhood and apple pie issue.

It’s also a public safety issue. The facts bear this out.

A clear relationship exists between animal cruelty and other serious types of crimes, including spousal and child abuse, among other horrific violent crimes. By toughening our animal cruelty laws, we have a better chance of apprehending, convicting and rehabilitating abusers, making our communities safer and healthier.

Please consider the calls of countless Canadians, including your own constituents, who are sickened by senseless acts of cruelty, like the dog slaughter in B.C., and who are outraged by the state of our weak laws in Canada. As government MPs representing British Columbia constituencies, I am hopeful that this tragic case that occurred in your home province will inspire you to work within your own party for real reforms now.

I invite you to call me to discuss this further.

Sincerely,

Mark Holland, MP for Ajax-Pickering,
Public Safety Critic for the Official Opposition

Read Mark’s press release

Read Mark’s press release