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


Abused puppy case given $9,400 boost

Abused puppy case given $9,400 boost

CALGARY SUN | NOVEMBER 30, 2009

The search for the person who savagely beat a three-month-old puppy was thrown a $9,400 treat by a donor furious over the assault.

The donation to the animal advocate Daisy Foundation brings the total bounty for information leading to the conviction of the animal abuser to at least $10,500, said the group’s founder, Heather Anderson.

“We were hoping it would go to $1,000, then this,” said Anderson, adding the anonymous donor owns two dogs.

“He’s obviously an animal lover and he was obviously mad about it.”

On Nov. 3, the bloodied, emaciated and unconscious Doberman pup was found in the parking lot of the Calgary North Veterinary Hospital at 4202 4 St. N.W.

Among the wounds suffered by the dog nicknamed Mike was a broken left foreleg and head injuries. But after surgery, the animal is recovering well, say Calgary Humane Society officials.

Henderson said news of the donation — given Thursday — has already made a difference in the investigation.

“We had more leads this morning than we had when the fund was at $600,” she said.

Even if the reward is claimed, Henderson said the foundation is determined to create a permanent cash pool for such cases.

And unless Canadians press politicians to increase the penalties for animal abuse, such donations will continue to be needed, she said.

“Even we get a conviction for this guy, he’ll just get a slap on the wrist,” she said.

Anyone with information that can lead to the name of the dog’s owner is urged to call the Calgary Humane Society at 403-723-6038.

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Beaten puppy found abandoned in Calgary; abuse suspected

Beaten puppy found abandoned in Calgary; abuse suspected

CALGARY HERALD | NOVEMBER 4, 2009

By Stephane Massinon, Photograph by: Ted Jacob; Calgary Herald

CALGARY – The Calgary Humane Society suspects animal abuse after an injured pup was left outside a veterinary hospital in a kennel that was covered in blood.

The young Doberman was abandoned late Tuesday in the parking lot at the Calgary North Veterinary Hospital.

Humane Society spokeswoman Lindsay Jones said the dog’s injuries may be life-threatening.

“Unfortunately, we do see these cases come through our doors, but this is unusual in that it’s such a young pup and his injuries are quite severe and there’s no explanation for them,” said Jones.

The agency hopes to find out who or what was responsible for the injuries.

Vets have been working to stabilize the Doberman and get its fluids up, Jones said.

It has suffered a broken front leg and trauma to his head.

“It’s heartbreaking for each and every staff member,” said Jones, who added she fought back tears when saw the injured pup.

“We are doing our best, and he is improving, but his condition is still guarded.”

The pooch is thought to be three months old, and because it is so skinny, there are concerns it was being neglected. If it survives, the pup will need extensive care and rehabilitation, the humane society said.

Dr. Drew Van Niekerk, co-owner of the Calgary North Veterinary Hospital, said the animal had to have been dumped because it could not have walked on its own.

The Doberman will undergo surgery, at no charge for the operation, which would normally cost $3,000. Van Niekerk believes it will likely survive.

“We’re all dog lovers and cat lovers here, and it’s hard on staff when they have to face the realities of people who are less than responsible,” said Van Niekerk. “Unfortunately, in a 24-hour busy emergency practice, we get to see this stuff too often.”

He worries that when stories like these arise, some people may feel it’s OK to dump an unwanted or injured animal at their doorsteps.

“It’s important to realize that regardless of any circumstances, a pet owner’s responsibility . . . is to do the right thing. I know that life is complicated, but animals don’t deserve this kind of thing,” said Van Niekerk.

The humane society’s peace officers are investigating the case and believe the injuries were likely inflicted by someone. Peace officers are able to lay charges of animal cruelty and neglect under the Animal Protections Act of Alberta, Jones said.

Heather Anderson, founder of the Daisy Foundation, said the case “makes me sick to my stomach.”

Anderson said she hopes people with information about the case will come forward to authorities.

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