Links Between Animal Abuse and Other Forms of Family by wantyou


									                Links Between Animal Abuse and Other Forms of Family Violence
                                are Many, Varied and Complex
                        ... from pg. 11                                  used to establish control over them, while also ensuring their
    She added that the statistics and various studies speak to the       silence, by forcing them to decide between their victimization or
remarkable attachment pets can foster in a home. That attachment         the pet’s death.”
may be compounded by the fact that a pet can often present a                 McIntosh’s study confirms prior research that indicates that
single shining point of tranquility and brightness in what is            animal abuse and other forms of family violence often co-exist,
otherwise a seething cauldron of both physical and psychological         and that this often leads to women delaying the decision to seek
abuse.                                                                   shelter, for themselves, their children, and their animals, from this
  “I can understand what a woman might be experiencing in leaving        violence.
an abusive relationship,” said Sanio.                                                                             She goes on to note that:
  The actual 1998 report on abuse and                                                                          “The research expands upon
how it sometimes dovetails against                                                                             existing research to indicate a
abuse in the family provides some                                                                              number of ways in which
interesting insights into the                                                                                  children may be impacted by
relationship. The patterns were                                                                                animal abuse in their homes,
recognized in a report entitled “The                                                                           one of which may be for the
Links Between Animal Abuse and                                                                                 children to continue the cycle
Family Violence, as Reported by                                                                                of violence.”
Women Entering Shelters in Calgary                                                                                Reports like this one, and
Communities.”                                                                                                  others, is the reason that the
    The report states that the links                                                                           OVMA undertook to help
between animal abuse and other forms of family violence are many,                                              victims of spousal and familial
varied and complex.                                                      abuse. The province of Alberta and that province’s SPCA runs a
   Indeed the report on violence tabled above notes that: “Cruelty       similar program to support victims of spousal abuse, providing
to animals is often associated with cruelty to other members of the      safe shelter for pets.
family and is related to the concept of dominance.”                          It’s why Sanio encourages all interested people to become
    The study was written by Sue C.                                                                    involved. “We have all the information
McIntosh, M.A., CCC, an Alberta-based                                                                  and applications here at the clinic or
Equine Counselor, who was interested in                                                                you can get it on-line,” says Sanio.
tracing the issues involved with abuse.                                                                    Indeed as the OVMA website
    McIntosh concludes: “The results                                                                   stipulates, it’s easy and painless.
confirm prior research indicating that                                                                 “Individuals interested in becoming
animal abuse and other forms of family                                                                 pet foster parents can register through
violence frequently co-exist and that many                                                             a local veterinary clinic.
women delay seeking safety due to                                                                          “Foster families must agree to
concerns for their pets. Further, results                                                              provide the pet with its appropriate
indicate that children who witness animal abuse are likely to be         diet exercise and other special needs.”
impacted and may become abusive, towards animals and people,               Other than that, says Sanio, the important facet of this program
themselves.”                                                             is anonymity. “It’s done on a confidential basis,” says Sanio.
    It adds that: “When abuse happens in a home it invariably            Through the Farley Foundation, some of these pets may also be
involves the whole family, including any animals in the family; animal   cared for under the umbrella of the free treatment part of the Farley
abuse is part of a constellation of dysfunctional family patterns.”      Foundation’s initiatives, should need for treatment occur while
                                                                         the pet is under foster care.
             The Pattern Of Violence Is Debilitating                        The best news is that once the women (and children) are again
                                                                         ready to accept the pet, the animal is returned to the local clinic
  Being threatened with, or witnessing, the abuse of their animals       and reunited with the family.
compounds the direct abuse of women and children in abusive                  Perhaps hearkening to the simple words, penned by Cecil
homes, and in some cases prevents them from leaving the abusive          Alexander at Markree Castle near Sligo, Ireland.
situation.                                                                  “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small,
   Says McIntosh: “When a husband destroys a pet he may be               All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.”
destroying the woman’s only source of comfort and affection. Many          A wonderful antidote to the societal shrug.
abusers use the family pet to intimidate, threaten, coerce, violate or
control children or spouses, and this often includes the use of            Read about the OVMA programs at or
threats or actions towards the animals to obtain the victim’s silence.      visit Farley’s Page via Lynn Johnston’s Website at http://
   The report also notes that the “testimony of survivors of child                     .
sexual abuse reveals that threats and abuse of their pets were often

 The Highlands Communicator                                     Page 12                                       Oct. 11 - 24, 2007

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