Magazine article USA TODAY

Animal Cruelty Often Tied to Family Abuse

Magazine article USA TODAY

Animal Cruelty Often Tied to Family Abuse

Article excerpt

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has released the findings of a yearlong study on animal cruelty. It compiled information from over 1,600 high-profile animal cruelty cases nationwide that occurred during 2000. More than 900 involved intentional violence toward animals, with the balance consisting of animal cruelty that resulted from neglect.

Among the findings, 94% were committed by males; 31% by perpetrators age 18 and younger (four percent under age 12); and 21% involved family violence as well. Of the animals abused, 76% of the cases involved pets, 12% farm animals, seven percent wildlife, and five percent multiple types of animals. In 63% of the cases, animals were killed as a result of violence or euthanized due to extensive injuries.

"The high percentage of male teenagers perpetrating intentional acts of cruelty against animals, and the large number of cruelty cases in which animal cruelty and family violence coexisted, should be a red flag to anyone concerned about reducing violence in our society," asserts Claire Pounder, HSUS First Strike Campaign manager. (The campaign is an educational initiative launched in 1997 to increase public and professional awareness of the connection between animal cruelty and human violence and to encourage professionals involved in antiviolence to work together towards solutions.) "You don't have to be an animal lover to see that animal cruelty is a warning sign that an individual could be involved in other violent crimes and could pose a risk to family members as well as the larger community. …

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