The Connection Between Animal Cruelty and Human Abuse . It’s a community problem Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The Connection . What is Animal Cruelty
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The Connection Between Animal Cruelty and Human Abuse It’s a community problem Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault
The Connection • What is Animal Cruelty • Animal cruelty encompasses a range of behaviors harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. Most cruelty investigated by humane officers is unintentional neglect that can be resolved through education. Intentional cruelty, or abuse, is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, socialization, or veterinary care or maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating, or killing an animal.
Animal Abuse • Neglect • Physical Violence • Neglect • Emotional or Verbal Abuse • Sexual Abuse or Assault • Death
Violence breeds violence. • The correlation between animal cruelty and child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, youth violence and criminal behavior is significant. • DeViney, Dickert and Lockwood studied 53 families that met New Jersey state criteria for child abuse and who had pets in their homes. Their results revealed that the occurrence of animal abuse was 88 percent higher in families where physical child abuse was present than in those families with other forms of child abuse.
Who are they? • “Murderers ... very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids.” —Robert K. Ressler, who developed profiles of serial killers for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) • Acts of cruelty toward animals— they can be the first sign of a violent pathology that includes human victims.
Name that Perp • Enjoyed torturing animals, impaling frogs and cats. • Beheaded dogs to practice his craft. • Served in the US Army as a Combat medic/orderly until being medically discharged • As an adult, he graduated to killing and dismembering at least 17 people, freezing their body parts and eating them. • Used “acid-baths” to destroy the remains or his victims.
Name that Perp • Stealing started with small things at work and school to shoplifting and burglary. • He was once shy and introverted and then changed to be a more dominant person. • Thought to have killed over 100 women in years of random murder sprees, enjoyed killing animals as a child • Had a fairly average childhood, did well in school and incurred no documented abuse. • While interviewing a defending witness Carole Ann Boone, they exchanged vows. The two were considered officially married, due to Florida laws stating that a verbal promise made under oath was enough to "seal the agreement". • Served as his own defense attorney.
A 1985 study found that a child who learns aggression against living creatures is more likely to rape, abuse, and kill other humans as an adult. • In a 1983 study, 88% of families where physical abuse occurred, animals in that home were also abused. In about two thirds of the cases, the abusive parent had killed or injured the animals to discipline a child. • A 1988 study of twenty eight rapist-murderers found that 36 percent had engaged in acts of animal cruelty in childhood, and 46 percent during adolescence. • In a study of prison inmates, 48 percent of the rapists and 30 percent of the child molesters admitted to having been cruel to animals.
Name that Perp • Known by neighbors for killing local pets. • He claimed a demon transmitted orders through his neighbor's dog, instructing him to commit murder. • New York’s most notorious serial killer • AKA “Son of Sam”
Name that Perp • Targeted universities and the airline industry. • He wrote a manifesto that he distributed to the media, in which he claimed he wanted society to return to a time when technology was not a threat to its future, asserting that "the Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.“ • History of abusing cats • AKA “Unabomber”
Adult Offenders • “While not everyone who abuses animals will become a serial killer, virtually every serial killer first abused animals ...”— Randall Lockwood, vice president, Humane Society of the United States
Pet Abuse and Family Violence • Women seeking safety at domestic violence shelters are nearly 11 times more likely to report that their partner has hurt or killed pets than women who have not experienced domestic violence.  • A batterer may threaten a pet in order to compel a partner to commit a crime. • Between 18 percent and 48 percent of battered women delay leaving abusive situations out of fear for the safety of their animals.  • In a study of battered women in several northeastern states, • 48 percent of respondents reported that animal abuse had occurred "often" during the past 12 months. • 30 percent reported the abuse occurred "almost always." • 51 percent reported that animal abuse incidents coincided with violent outbursts against human family members.  • A 1997 survey of domestic violence situations found: • 85 percent of the 50 largest shelters for battered women in the United States said clients discussed incidence of pet abuse in the family. • Overall, 71 percent of women and 63 percent of children entering the shelters reported that animals had been the target of violence.  • A "gold standard" study conducted between 1994 and 2000 found that pet abuse is one of four risk factors for intimate partner violence.  • Pet abuse is listed as a form of intimidation in the "power and control wheel," a landmark chart developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, the first multi-disciplinary program designed to address the issue of domestic violence.  • Threats of harm to family pets may be used to coerce women who are battered into committing illegal acts at the behest of the batterer.  • A survey of 1,283 female pet owners found that domestic batterers who abuse pets use more forms of violence and demonstrate greater use of controlling behaviors over human victims than batterers who do not abuse their pets.  • A Texas study found that batterers who harm animals are more dangerous and more violent than batterers who do not abuse animals.  • Thirty-two percent of battered women report their children had hurt or killed animals.  • Children exposed to domestic violence are three times more likely to be cruel to animals than children living in nonviolent households.  • Approximately 60% of college students who witnessed or perpetrated animal cruelty as children also reported experiences with child maltreatment or domestic violence. 
Why do abusers threaten, harm or kill animals? • To create an environment which intimidates and terrorizes their victims • To demonstrate power over the family • To use the pet as a warning to family members that “Next time it could be you” • To punish victims for acts of independence and self-determination: such as leaving • To prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her to return by threatening the pet’s well being • To degrade the victim and/or shift the responsibility of abuse through involvement in abuse • To force the family to keep violence a secret • To eliminate competition for attention
Outside Atlanta in 1998, Mark Barton shot his eight year old daughter's kitten and then pretended to lead her on a search for the dead pet. a few months later, in July 1999, he went on a shooting rampage in Atlanta, killing 13 people, including himself, and wounding 13 others. Barton, who had bludgeoned his wife and two young children to death, killed himself in his van Guillermo Lerma of Edinburg, Texas, who is serving a life sentence for killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter, decapitated a live puppy in front of a different girlfriend’s children, warning that he would decapitate them as well if they told their mother.
Family Violence Continued • Stephen Williams, of LaGrange, Ga., was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, first degree child cruelty, and aggravated assault after allegedly hacking to death his wife’s puppy with an ax and threatening to decapitate her with the same weapon—all in front of three horrified children. After Melissa Davis of Ocala, Fla., moved out because her husband repeatedly beat her, he found her and threatened to kill her dogs unless she came home. Davis refused and was presented with the head of her 4- month-old puppy later that day.
Victims For 13 years, the husband of Sandra Ruotolo of Pennsylvania battered her. The last time, he took a break from beating her with a vacuum cleaner cord and punched Ruotolo’s dog in the face, warning her that if she left him, he would find her and slit her four dogs’ throats in front of her. After contemplating suicide, Ruotolo looked at her dog and thought, “If I die, Duchess, what’s going to happen to you?” and shot her husband to death instead. A dead dog in a dumpster led to finding a neglected 90-year-old woman; whimpering in a closet. *Abusive family members abuse elders’ pets for complex reasons. Perpetrators may abuse or neglect the elder’s pet as a form of retaliation or control, a way to obtain the elder’s financial assets, or as an act of frustration over their caretaking responsibilities.
Sexually-abused children are five times more likely to abuse animals than children who are not sexually abused. • Twenty percent of children who sexually abuse other children also have histories of sexually abusing animals. • Up to 37 percent of sexually violent juvenile offenders have a history of animal sexual assault. • The FBI found high rates of sexual assault of animals in the backgrounds of serial sexual homicide perpetrators. • In an Australian study, 100 percent of people who committed sexual homicide had abused animals, and 61.5 percent of animal abusers also had assaulted a human. • Those convicted of committing crimes against people on one or more occasions were more likely to have had sex with animals during their childhood or adolescence than other respondents. • Of juveniles who engage in sex with animals, 96 percent also admit to sex offenses against humans and reported more offenses against humans than other sex offenders their same age and race.
Why is it important to address animal cruelty by children? • Children who are allowed to harm animals without penalty are more likely to commit violent acts later in life. Children who abuse animals are more likely to be involved in bullying, vandalism, and more serious crimes.
Juvenile Offenders • A 13-year-old Augusta, Ga., boy— a month after allegedly stabbing a classmate in the back and threatening to kill a bus driver—reportedly stomped a kitten to death. Neighbors claimed to see the child twisting his foot into the kitten as if he were “grinding … a cigarette out.” Three New Jersey teens reportedly stoned a goose to death and—using a rake and shovel—fatally bludgeoned eight large exotic birds at a local zoo. The suspects were also suspected of arson, painting swastikas on an area business, and shattering a church’s windows At age 13, Gary Long Jr. of South Dakota allegedly encouraged a dog to fatally maul a kitten for his own amusement. Within two years, he shattered a beer bottle on an 8-yearold child’s head and raped and killed a 31-year-old woman.
Juvenile Offenders • Criminologist Jose Sanchez reports, "the young criminal you see today is more detached from his victim, more ready to hurt or kill . . . The lack of empathy for their victims among young criminals is just one symptom of a problem that afflicts the whole society." In May 1999, in Conyers, Georgia, Anthony "T.J." Solomon went on a shooting rampage at Heritage high school, injuring 6 students. His psychologist testified on his behalf that he was a troubled youth, and, "When he shot animals with guns, he loved to look into their eyes and watch them die and wonder what it was like on the other side." In October 1997, in Pearl, Mississippi, Luke Woodham, 16, stabbed to death his mother and then went on to his school, where he shot and killed two students and wounded 7 others. He had earlier written in his journal of the "true beauty" of beating, torturing and killing his dog, Sparkle.
Juveniles April 1999/Littleton, Colo. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot to death 12 fellow students and a teacher and injured more than 20 others. Both had reportedly boasted about mutilating animals. May 1998/Springfield, Ore. Kip Kinkel, 15, killed his parents and opened fire in his school cafeteria, killing two and injuring 22 others. He had a history of animal abuse and torture, having boasted about killing animals by putting lit firecrackers in their mouths. March 1998/Jonesboro, Ark. Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, pulled their school’s fire alarm and then shot and killed four classmates and a teacher. Golden reportedly used to shoot dogs “all the time with a .22.” December 1997/West Paducah, Ky. Michael Carneal, 14, shot and killed three classmates during a prayer meeting. Carneal had been heard talking about throwing a cat into a bonfire. October 1997/Pearl, Miss. Luke Woodham, 16, shot and killed two classmates and injured seven others after stabbing his mother to death. Woodham’s journal revealed that he had beaten, burned, and tortured his own dog, Sparkle, to death. “One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.” —Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
Infamous Juvenile Offenders • In April 1999, Littleton, Colorado, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, brought guns and bombs into Columbine High School. There, they killed a dozen of their fellow students and one teacher before killing themselves. These youngsters had often spoken of mutilating animals, and Klebold enjoyed shooting woodpeckers.
General Risk Indicators • History of Domestic Violence • Used severe violence, with injuries requiring medical treatment; • Used strangulation; • Used or threatened to use a weapon; • Threatened to kill his partner/ex-partner; • Was violent when partner was pregnant; • Used sexual violence, such as rape; • Assaulted children and/or other family members; • Violence is becoming more frequent; • Violence is becoming more severe. • General Mental State • A feeling of nothing else to lose the „what the hell‟ factor; • High levels of anger and hostility; • High levels of hostility, in particular towards a partner or ex partner; • Depression; • Suicidal Depression; • Generally low mental functioning; • Obsessive jealousy of a partner/ex-partner; • Obsessive control of a partner/ ex-partner; • Obsessive thinking of a partner following separation. • Circumstances & Current or Recent Life Stresses • Currently has access to the partner/ ex-partner; • Partner is trying to leave or has recently left; • Currently isolated from support systems; • Severe abuse in the perpetrator‟s family of origin; • Unemployment; • Homelessness; • Bereavement; • Poverty; • Living with a Step Family; • Equivalent life stresses. • Attitudes About the Violence • Severely blaming a partner or ex-partner or the children for their violence; • Severely minimising or denying the violence; • Lacking remorse; • Lacking empathy for those who have experienced the violence or abuse; • Not recognising the risk; • Having no motivation to change; • Being unwilling to take part in a perpetrator programme. • Other Relevant Behaviour Current substance misuse – notably of alcohol or drugs – especially where it has exacerbated the severity of the violence in the past; • Generalised aggression, both inside and outside the family. This may not be present in cultures that show little tolerance for public violence; • Recent or current suicide risk or threats of suicide.
These risk factors include: • - discrepant histories: owners unwilling or unable to explain how injuries occurred; vague or implausible explanations for injuries; account of accident does not fit the injury; family members relate different histories; owner showing a lack of concern for animal- client utilizes several hospitals in attempt to evade detection- multiple fractures of different ages in same animal- injuries to multiple animals in household- repetitive history of accidents, deaths or turnovers in household- personal awareness of violence in the household- age as a risk factor: dogs and cats under 2 years of age are at greater risk- breed as a risk factor: pit bulls and related breeds are at greater risk- gender as a risk factor: male dogs are at greater risk than female dogs; no gender-specificity for cats; overwhelmingly, human perpetrators of violence are males- low socioeconomic status and substance abuse may be risk factors- animal exhibits unusual behavioral signs- Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy • The British veterinary pharmaceutical firm Intervet UK (2003), borrowing from ideas presented by Munro & Thrusfield (2001a-d) and Arkow (2003), has recently published guidelines to sensitize veterinarians to conditions that are highly suggestive of animal abuse. These include: • - Animal welfare concerns (poor physical condition; absence of food; abandonment; collar too tight; lack of medical care; dehydration; excessive hair matting; parasitic infestation)- Environmental concerns (general lack of sanitation; overcrowding; presence of dead animals; inadequate ventilation/lighting; excessive numbers of animals; presence of feces/urine)- Human welfare concerns (owner unable to afford human or animal food; owner lives in isolation; evidence of animal fighting, bestiality or ritualistic sacrifice)- Physical injuries to animal (bruising; fractures; repetitive injuries; lesions; burns or scalds; ocular injuries; internal injuries; administration of recreational drugs; poison; gunshot wounds; malnutrition; drowning; asphyxiation; untreated diseases)- Sexual abuse • Veterinarians should be aware of the possibility that a patient presented with traumatic injuries, malnutrition or other maltreatment could be the victim of abuse or neglect. They should regard these suspicions seriously out of concern for the welfare of not only the patient, but also of other animals in the household and the public health of the community.
Reporting • “Often victims are reluctant to talk about abuse to themselves but may be more comfortable talking about abuse to their pets, which can lead into talking about their own abuse”
Risk Assessment • Learn to identify the risk factors to evaluate if an animal abuser is at risk of committing violence against people in the future. • It is important to recognize the correlation between domestic violence and animal abuse as service providers when evaluating, and as individuals experiencing abuse. • Message to victims - If your partner has harmed your pet consider filing a report with the Humane Society/SPCA or the police. It will help you in the future if it comes to the point where you need to put a case to file for a restraining order to protect yourself and your children. • Animal related factors to consider: • Number of victims • Severity of injury • Repetition of individuals victims • Several animals injured in the same instance or infliction of • multiple wounds suggest greater potential for violence
Signs of Abuse • It is important to recognize that animal abuse is a sign of domestic abuse. • Recognize that abusers harm and threaten pets to intimidate and control their victims. • If someone kicks, punches, throws or hurts an animal they have demonstrated that they are capable of violence. • If they have harmed or threatened a pet the family may be in danger and should consider leaving. • Using animal violence as an indicator can help a woman escape violence earlier on.
Where to Learn More • Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) • The First Strike® campaign was created in 1997 to raise public and professional awareness about the connection between animal cruelty and other violent crime. The campaign works with local animal protection agencies around the United States to promote inter‐agency collaborations to reduce animal cruelty, family and community violence. First Strike also provides investigative support, rewards, expert testimony and information on the animal‐human cruelty connection to law enforcement and works jointly with legislators and activists throughout the United States to press for the passage of well-enforced, felony level anti-cruelty laws. • Web Address: • http://www.hsus.org/hsus_field/first_strike_the_connection_between_animal_cruelty_and_human_violence/