The “Link”

People who hurt animals don’t stop with animals – There is an established link between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans. This is regularly referred to as “The Link.” This link makes it critically important that cruelty toward animals be taken seriously by law enforcement, and by society at large.

The Link: Child Abuse

  • An interviewer questioned 53 families being investigated for child abuse
  • Animal abuse was reported by 60% of the families
  • Animal abuse was reported by 88% of the families being investigated for physical child abuse

Reports show 62%-76% of animal cruelty occurs in front of children


The Link: Domestic Violence

  • A national study found that 85.4% of women and 63% of children in domestic violence shelters reported incidents of pet abuse.
  • A 2017 study showed that 89% of women who had companion animals during an abusive relationship reported that their animals were threatened, harmed, or killed by their abusive partner.
  • Domestic violence toward pets is also a tool of domestic abuse — violent members of the household will threaten to hurt, or actually hurt, a companion animal as a method of control and a form of emotional violence. More than half of women in domestic violence shelters report that they delayed their escape out of fear for their animals.


The Link: Elder Abuse

  • More than one-third of Adult protection services (APS) caseworkers reported that their clients’ pets are threatened, injured, killed, or denied care.
  • Approximately 45% of surveyed APS supervisors and case workers reported seeing intentional animal abuse or neglect when visiting clients
  • Approximately 75% reported that clients’ concerns for their pets affected their decisions to accept interventions or other services.
  • Approximately 92% of adult protective services caseworkers reported they encountered animal neglect co-existing with their clients’ inability to care for themselves.


The Link: Other Acts of Violence

Acts of animal cruelty are linked to a variety of other crimes:

-crimes of violence against humans

-property crimes

-drug offenses

-disorderly conduct offenses