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Building awareness that leads to humane treatment for all
One of our goals is to prevent cruelty to animals - but another important part of our mission is to raise awareness about cruel treatment to any living being. Our experience - and current research confirms - the link between neglect, abuse and cruelty to non-human and human victims alike.
Children who abuse animals
Today, there is a renewed interest in an idea dating back centuries - that children who harm animals become desensitized to violence and go on to commit antisocial acts against other people. Childhood cruelty to animals has been linked to an increased likelihood of violent behaviors against other people both in childhood and in adulthood. Understand that while not all children who harm animals go on to become violent adults, and while not all adult animal abusers necessarily harm their partners or children, supporting evidence is causing professionals to view animal abuse as a "red flag" for other antisocial behaviors.
Adults who abuse the family pet
Animal maltreatment includes neglect, physical abuse, animal fighting and hoarding. It promotes desensitization and damages a child's capacity for empathy. It fosters the idea that victims are expendable. Damage is done to a child's sense of safety and confidence in the ability of adults to protect them from harm. It leads to acceptance of physical harm in allegedly loving relationships and fosters a dynamic of empowerment through the infliction of pain, suffering and humiliation. Children learn what they live, and abusive behaviors are imitated. Therefore, if a child is cruel to animals, this may be an indicator that serious neglect and abuse have been inflicted on the child.
Researchers in psychology, child development, sociology, criminology, social work, law and veterinary medicine are addressing the multi-disciplinary nature of animal and family violence. Abusers often strike out in more ways than one, committing child maltreatment, animal abuse, elder abuse and domestic violence. Where serious animal abuse has occurred, other forms of family violence are often occurring and other family members may be at increased risk of abuse.
Animal abuse used to control humans who are abused
Since pets are such beloved family members, animal abuse also allows abusers to maintain control over victims, because victims fail to leave abusive situations out of fear for what might happen to their pets. Acts or threats of animal abuse may be used to coerce, control and intimidate women, children and elders to be silent about their abusive situations.
Abuse puts everyone at risk
When an animal has been abused there is also a greater risk that adults and children in the home have been bitten or attacked by the pet. When animals are abused, people are at risk; when people are abused, animals are at risk.