Domestic abusers often cut their teeth on abusing pets and other animals before they graduate on to people. Other abusers abuse animals parallel to abusing human victims.
The correlation between animal abuse and abuse of humans is so strong that Florida’s domestic violence statute expressly authorizes the court to consider injury or killing of a pet as a factor in entering a domestic violence restraining order of protection.
Victims of domestic violence often stay in abusive relationships out of concern for their pets. Fifty-four percent of domestic violence victims staying in shelters report that their abuser had hurt or killed their pet.
Three states extend the protection of a domestic violence restraining order to pets. Other states are expected to follow their lead.
As a first line of defense, helping professionals should always seek out information about pets in working with victims of domestic violence.