Spotting and preventing animal abuse:

We hear more and more about animal abuse and cruelty, and it is becoming a larger concern than at any time in the past.  The primary ways you can prevent loss and mistreatment of your own animals is to SPAY – NEUTER – VACINATE – RESTRAIN!! According to our Deputies in our Animal Crimes Unit, “if 50% of the people would do those easy things, more than half of our calls would never get called in.” The state says animal cruelty is usually one or more of four things: failure to provide food, water, shelter and adequate care (adequate care – treatment for injury and illness and proper husbandry practices for that species). Ensuring that your animals have all these things will ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

However, another reason animal cruelty has become such a strong focus for law enforcement is the connection between violence to animals and violence to people.  Psychologists now believe that if someone will hurt an animal, they are more likely to hurt a human, and have less respect for life or the law. 

Witnessing Animal abuse can identify people engaging in other criminal activities.

•        35% of search warrants executed for animal abuse or dog fighting investigations resulted in seizure of either narcotics or guns.

•        Of 22 offenders arrested for animal abuse violations, 18 had priors for battery, weapons or drugs, 5 had subsequent arrests for felony offenses.

As Chicago Police Superintendent, Philip Cline points out, “An important part of our anti-violence strategy includes strict enforcement of the dog fighting statutes. Dog fighting is directly connected to the violent world of gangs, drugs and weapons.”

In addition, statistics show that of 200 animal abuse offenders:

•       A history of animal abuse was a better predictor of sexual assault than previous convictions for homicide, arson or firearms offenses

•       61.5% had also committed an assault; 17% had committed sexual abuse; 8% had arson convictions. 99% of cruelty offenders had committed other crimes.

•        Animal cruelty offenders averaged four different types of criminal offenses (particularly sexual assault, domestic violence and firearms offenses). All sexual homicide offenders reported having been cruel to animals.

Gullone & Clarke, 2008

In many cases, victims of abuse feel trapped and will not leave the abusive environment for fear their animals will be harmed or killed.  Abusers use threats to the pets of children to ensure their compliance or silence.  Luckily, this behavior is now a taken into consideration by Domestic Violence agencies.  Today, more and more shelters for victims of abuse are making arrangements for the pets of those seeking shelter which allows them to leave the violent situation before it escalates beyond control.  All states have laws against animal cruelty.  If you spot animals that are being mistreated, please report it to your local police.  You could save a life.