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Miami Bankruptcy & Criminal Attorney / Blog / Domestic Violence / Domestic Violence And Your Pets

Domestic Violence And Your Pets


We know that domestic violence is primarily about control. And what better way to control someone than to threaten their loved ones—particularly if those loved ones are pets who can’t report the abuse. The emotional devastation of seeing a defenseless, innocent animal harmed in retaliation or to gain the upper hand in a relationship cannot be described adequately.  Suffice it to say that it takes a toll.

Startling Statistics

The numbers on this are shocking: nearly 90 percent of women surveyed who were in abusive relationships say that their abuser threatened, or even hurt or killed their companion animals. The connection between animal abuse and domestic violence is outlined by the Animal Welfare Institute and by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

  • Child abuse, domestic violence, and animal abuse often occur concurrently in families;
  • When batterers abuse pets, they do it in front of their partners 87 percent off the time to get revenge or to gain control;
  • About three-fourths of pet abuse occurs in the presence of children;
  • People who fear for the safety of their pets may be more reluctant to leave dangerous situations if they cannot bring their pets with them;
  • People who harm animals are more likely to eventually batter family members at the same time or later;
  • Some abusers start the abuse with people, and then move on to animals when they recognize the power it gives them in manipulating people;
  • When batterers abuse pets, they are more likely to abuse children as well, at a rate of two to one;
  • Batterers frequently threaten or harm pets as a coercive method to get children to submit to sexual abuse;
  • Offenders incarcerated in maximum security prisons due to violent acts were much more likely to have a history of animal cruelty than inmates incarcerated for non-violent crimes;
  • About 50 percent of school shooters have a history of animal abuse;
  • Those who abuse animals are generally more likely to be violent abusers of their families, and are frequently involved in multiple arrests for violent behavior;
  • There are more and more safe spaces for people suffering from violence in their homes where they are allowed to bring pets.

Animal Cruelty is a Predictor of Other Issues

Studies indicate that cruelty toward animals is a clear predictor of current or future violence in many forms, including:

  • Assault;
  • Rape;
  • Arson;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Sexual assault of children;
  • Murder.

Oftentimes when law enforcement deals with cruelty to animals, it is the first indication that further issues are occurring within the home. Being cognizant of this association may help them to ask the right questions to get help to victims.

Take Action Now

The truth of the matter is that violence against a beloved pet is a form of domestic violence.  If it hasn’t led to abuse against family members yet, there is a very high likelihood that it soon will.  Now is the time to get away from this dangerous situation.  At the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our dedicated Miami domestic violence attorneys can help.  Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.

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