The Abuse of Animals as a Method of Domestic Violence: The Need for Criminalization
A substantial amount of research in recent decades has focused on the relationship between domestic violence and animal abuse. This research has shown that an abusive household often contains more than one victim, and that an abuser is likely to harm both his intimate partner and domestic animals in the home. The bulk of this research has focused on the degree to which these forms of abuse co-occur, the predictive utility of these statistics, and the effect that animal abuse has on a victim's decision to leave the abusive household. Research findings in these areas have spawned a number of efforts to build upon this link to protect both humans and animals, such as including animals in protective orders, encouraging women's shelters to accommodate companion animals, requiring cross-reporting between animal welfare and domestic agencies, and educating the public as to the potential risk implicated by an animal abuser in the home.