Get Informed About Animals and Domestic Violence

Animal abuse is often the first visible sign of a family in trouble. In a domestic violence situation, abusers may manipulate and control their human victims through threatened or actual violence against family pets. Batterers are able to control their victims by threatening, torturing, or killing the victim’s animals. Sadly, children are usually witness to this behavior as well.

Why Do Abusers Batter Animals?
Dog looking sad
  • To demonstrate power and control over the family
  • To isolate the victim and children
  • To enforce submission
  • To perpetuate an environment of fear
  • To prevent the victim from leaving or to coerce her to return
  • To punish the victim for leaving or showing independence

There is a direct link between animal cruelty and domestic violence.

  • 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims.
  • 68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically control and coerce them.
  • Between 25% and 40% of battered women are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets if they leave.

Center for Domestic Peace and the Marin Humane Society hosted a free seminar on understanding and responding to the link between animal abuse and domestic violence. They took a deep dive into the research, explored ways to identify abuse, and provided practical steps to take to help people and animals in need.  Special Guest Speaker: Dr. Phil Arkow, Coordinator, National Link Coalition – the National Resource Center on The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence.

Click here to watch the web seminar. Passcode: WxV=qMM9

What You Can Do If this is Happening to You!
  • Call C4DP to understand the severity of abuse.
  • License pets with the town or county and make sure these registrations are in your name.
  • Do not leave your pets with your abuser.
  • Create a safety plan for your pets. C4DP can assist with this.
  • Arrange for temporary shelter for your pets with a veterinarian, family member, trusted friend, or local animal shelter.

If you’re afraid of leaving an abusive situation because of concern for your animal’s safety, Marin Humane can help by confidentiality protecting and caring for your beloved pet. Call 415-883-4621.