“When animals are abused, people are at risk; When people are abused, animals are at risk.” This is the message that this webinar wants to get across. People often think that animal cruelty cases are isolated from crimes committed to humans. Various researchers, however, prove that animal abuse is correlated to child abuse, domestic violence, and elderly abuse, and that cruelty to animals is the childhood training ground for some of the most heinous crimes the country has witnessed.
Joining Justice Clearinghouse to shed light on this issue is John Thompson. He is the Deputy Executive Director and COO for the National Sheriff Association. With military and law enforcement background, John described himself as animal-neutral for the most of his life. That is until his daughter in law school wrote an article illustrating the link between serial killers and animal abusers. The fact that he was gradually bonding with their family dog helped too. These events led him to spearhead the movement that created the National Coalition on Violence Against Animals and the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse.
Some of the specifics John discussed in the webinar are:
- The opportunities lost to solve cases because of disinterest or lack of awareness in understanding and dealing with animal abuse cases.
- His personal story that led to his advocacy.
- How animal abuse is usually a predictor of other issues and is rarely an isolated case.
- The close relationship between animal cruelty and other types of crimes as interpersonal violence, property crimes, and drug offenses.
- How the states are individually recognizing that animal abuse is a crime and the societal change in how humans treat animals.
- The reasons why animal abuse should be taken seriously as it can inflict pain not only to the animals, but trauma to humans, children, and the pet-owners.
A multitude of examples/case studies of
- Serial killers admitted to having seen or done animal abuse in their past/childhood.
- School mass shooters who likewise performed acts of animal cruelty.
- Animal and child abusers.
- The ways that batterers use animal abuse to emotionally blackmail and threaten family members.
- Key statistics that establish links between domestic violence and animal abuse.
- The intergenerational vicious cycle of violence.
- Why not every child who pulled a pet’s tail will end up violent and destructive, and the contributing risk factors that create an abuser.
- The relationship between child abuse and animal cruelty.
- The reasons why people and children become or are cruel to animals.
- The elder abuse and animal abuse link, and the figures supporting such cases.
- The important facts and numbers law enforcement must know related to this issue.
- The human and legal response given the findings on the link between violence and crime to animal abuse.
- Resources for more information on animal abuse and welfare, as well as partners that can assist in such cases.
The Q&A segment touched on topics as:
- Domestic violence and animal abuse on tribal lands.
- The societal evolution on how humans interact with animals as an effect of heightened awareness and education.
- States that do not consider animals property.
- Setting up a national registry for animal abuse cases
- Including animals in requests for orders of protection.