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Pets as Pawns: The Co-existence of Animal Cruelty and Family Violence

 
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Short Description:
This study examines the links between violence against animals and domestic violence. The issue was investigated with a combination of in-depth interviews and surveys with women in shelters/refuges and surveys of animal shelter managers.

Abstract:

The study finds that animal abuse, or a threat of animal abuse, can happen both within the relationship and after a woman has left the relationship. 54.7% of women responding to the survey said that a family member or a partner had threatened to hurt or kill their animal. 90% of all threats reported were made by the person's partner, with 10% coming from another family member. 36.5% reported an animal had been hurt or killed during their relationship. 27.6% of the respondents at the woman's shelter reported staying in the relationship longer than they otherwise would have because of the presence of an animal.

Of those respondents with children, 32.7% said their child(ren) has seen a pet be threatened to be hurt or killed, and 24.5% of the children witnessed someone in the family hurt or kill an animal.

Threats were most commonly made toward pets (85.7%), followed by farm animals (10%). Incidence of actual injury or death was also highest among companion animals (81.3%) followed by farm animals (14%). According to the report, "dogs were most commonly reported as being threatened or killed (45%). This was followed by cats (33%), birds (6%) and cows (4%)."

Spot Check Number: 2006
Sponsor: Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals & The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges
Researcher/Author: Michael Roguski
Animal Type: Companion Animals
Research Method: In Person Interview/Survey, Print Survey, Telephone Survey
Geographic Region: United States National
Number of Participants: 280
Population Descriptors: shelter and rescue workers, female refugees, New Zealand
Year Conducted: 2012
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