Article

Intimate Partner Violence and Pet Abuse: Responding Law Enforcement Officers’ Observations and Victim Reports From the Scene

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Abstract

The risk of harm/injury in homes where intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs is not limited to humans; animals reside in as many as 80% of these homes and may be at substantial risk of suffering severe or fatal injury. Gaining a better understanding of IPV-pet abuse overlap is imperative in more accurately identifying the risks of harm for all individuals and animals residing in these homes. The objectives of this study were to utilize law enforcement officers’ observations and IPV victim reports from the scene of the incident to (a) determine the prevalence of pet abuse perpetration among suspects involved in IPV incidents, (b) compare characteristics of IPV incidents and the home environments in which they occur when the suspect has a history of pet abuse with incidents involving suspects with no reported history of pet abuse, and (c) compare IPV incident outcomes involving suspects with a history of pet abuse with those involving suspects with no reported history of pet abuse. IPV victims residing in homes with a suspect who has a history of pet abuse often describe “extremely high-risk” environments. With nearly 80% reporting concern that they will eventually be killed by the suspect, victims in these environments should be considered at significant risk of suffering serious injury or death. In addition, IPV victims involved in incidents with a suspect that has a history of pet abuse were significantly more likely to have had at least one prior unreported IPV incident with the suspect (80%) and to have ever been strangled (76%) or forced to have sex with the suspect (26%). Effective prevention/detection/intervention strategies are likely to require multidisciplinary collaboration and safety plans that address the susbstantial risk of harm/injury for all adults, children, and animals residing in the home.

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... My recent study found that when a perpetrator of domestic violence also had a history of abusing pets, human victims in the home were significantly more likely to report experiencing forced sex, strangulation, threatened/harmed by a weapon, recent death threats, and living with daily fear they WILL BE KILLED by the perpetrator (Fig. 1; [11]). While both sexes are at risk to be victimized by domestic violence, data indicates perpetrators of domestic violence who also abuse animals are overwhelmingly more likely to be male [11]. ...
... Additionally, while research has found domestic violence victims will on average experience ten violent incidents before calling law enforcement, when the abuser has a history of harming pets in the home too, victims will wait until they experience 20-40 incidents before calling law enforcement [11]. Fear of harm to pets or others in the home if they report the incidents may often be a key reason for this delay. ...
... My recent analysis of nearly 10,000 police officer reports and observations from the scene of domestic disturbances in Marion County, Indiana discovered officers report victims in homes where domestic violence and pet abuse co-occur to be significantly more like to appear apologetic, nervous, crying, and complaining of pain on scene than when the domestic violence perpetrator did not have a history of harming pets in the home [11]. These observations are not surprising given the increased risk of harm data clearly indicates in these households. ...
... Social motives are the customs and traditions that children inherit from parents and grandparents, and among these inherited cultural beliefs that a man has the right to control his life partner, giving the head of the family a high degree of prestige, and the belief that the amount of his manhood is managed by his ability to control his family with violence or strength, while these motives decrease as the percentage of culture and awareness increases in society, but some individuals do not believe in these traditions but the social stress around them pushes them to abuse their families, as other motives for violence arise from the main social changes that the family is going through, such as pregnancy or the illness of a family member, which necessitates one of the individuals who were neglected because of these changes to commit violence to control the situation and show oneself (Campbell et al., 2018;Parkinson, 2019;Zahran et al., 2009). ...
... As well as, sex is a statistically significant predictor of violence between spouses, while the educational level, age, and income level do not predict violence (total score or dimensions). These results coordinate with the findings of the previous studies (such as, Campbell et al., 2018;Enarson, 1999;Kaukinen, 2020;Parkinson, 2019;Schumacher et al., 2010;Weitzman & Behrman, 2010;Zahran et al., 2009;Zhang, 2020) that found a correlation between family violence and crisis. ...
Article
There has been much talk, globally and locally, about family violence during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Family violence has received increasing interest from the researchers in many different fields, while family violence during the COVID‐19 pandemic outbreak still needs researchers' attention to investigate its predictors and detect the prevalence among family members through this health crisis. This study aimed to investigate the spread of family violence and detect the predictors of it with the applied advanced statistical procedure, structural equation modeling (SEM). The researchers prepared the family violence scale that consisted of 21 items, and applied it in a random sample that consisted of (312) individual. The finding indicated that there are high levels of family violence, violence between spouses, violence from parents to children, and sibling violence. As well as, the findings found that the years of marriage are statistically significant of violence between spouses, violence from parents to children, and sibling violence, and the total score of the family violence. As well as, sex is a statistically significant predictor of violence between spouses. While the educational level, age, and income level did not predict violence (total score or dimensions). Based on the results of the current study, counseling programs to reduce family violence and psychotherapy programs to reduce the negative effects of family violence on parents and children must be planned. Therefore, the role of traditional and online family counseling and psychotherapy must be activated in light of the outbreak of the COVID‐19 pandemic.
... Psychological forms of coercion are used more frequently than direct physical and/or sexual abuse against female partners (Coker, Smith, McKeown, & King, 2000). As such, studies document that perpetrators of intimate partner violence who live in households with pets often use threats and violence against animals as a coercive tactic to imitate, coerce and/or retaliate against their partner(s) and children (Ascione et al., 2007;Barrett, Fitzerald, Stevenson, & Cheung, 2017;Campbell, Thompson, Harris, & Wiehe, 2018;Collins et al., 2018;McDonald, 2018;Newberry, 2017). ...
... Barrett et al. (2017) reported that survivors who had experienced animal cruelty by their abusive partner were at greater risk for more severe and frequent intimate partner violence. Similarly, a recent study examining reports of police officers present at intimate partner violence scenes indicated that women reporting intimate partner violence by a suspect with a history of animal maltreatment were significantly more likely to report being strangled (76%) and forced to have sex (26%) when compared to survivors whose abuser did not engage in animal maltreatment (Campbell, Thompson, Harris, & Wiehe, 2018). this study also found higher rates of other lethality risks in households where animal maltreatment was present, such as threats to kill children and easy access to a firearm(s). ...
Chapter
Associations between animal maltreatment 1 and other antisocial behaviors, such as aggression and interpersonal violence, have been well documented in research on children, adolescents, and adults (Ascione et al. 2018 ; Felthouse and Bernard 1979 ; Tapia 1971). The clinical significance of animal maltreatment behaviors as an indicator of maladjustment was formally recognized in the revised third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM ) in 1987, in the DSM-III-R ( American Psychiatric Association 1987 ), which included animal cruelty as a symptom of conduct disorder. Later editions of the DSM (IV, IV-TR, 5; American Psychiatric Association 1994 , 2000 , 2013 ) retained children’s physical cruelty to animals in a set of indicators of conduct disorder labeled, “aggression to people and animals”; other behaviors in this category included physical fighting, use of a weapon to inflict harm on others, and bullying ( Ascione et al. 2018 ; Signal et al. 2013 ). Since the inclusion of animal cruelty as a symptom of conduct disorder in the DSM , relations between human and nonhuman animal-related violence have received increasing attention in the research literature. In particular, associations between psychological disorders, crime, and animal maltreatment have been the focus of significant research ( Ascione et al. 2018 ). This chapter provides an overview of current empirical knowledge on the intersection of violence toward people and nonhuman animals to highlight sociological factors and affective processes that may play a role in associations between animal maltreatment and interpersonal violence. In particular, we highlight literature on adverse family environments (violent households) to illustrate various factors that may be involved in the onset, maintenance, and intergenerational transmission of these antisocial behaviors. The chapter concludes with an overview and discussion of the practical implications of research in this area, current gaps in knowledge, and opportunities for future research.
... ation (Thackeray, et. al., 2010). Additionally, when domestic violence abusers also harm animals in the home, it is often an indicator of increased risk for both human and animal members of the household. Nearly 80% of victims residing in a home where domestic violence and pet abuse co-occur report daily fear they will be killed by the perpetrator (Campbell, et. al., 2018). ...
... ng a significant link between abuse or neglect of animals and an increased risk for humans who reside in the home as well. Perpetrators of domestic violence who also abuse animals are more likely have mental illness and/or abuse substances, have attempted suicide, and to have access to a firearm than domestic violence abusers who do not abuse pets (Campbell, et. al., 2018). Animal-abusing, domestic violence perpetrators likely present a significant risk of harm to households, communities, and first responders, with outcomes that include emotional harm, physical injury, and/or death. ...
Article
Full-text available
Though necessary to slow the spread of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), actions such as social-distancing, sheltering in-place, restricted travel, and closures of key community foundations are likely to dramatically increase the risk for family violence around the globe. In fact many countries are already indicating a dramatic increase in reported cases of domestic violence. While no clear precedent for the current crisis exists in academic literature, exploring the impact of natural disasters on family violence reports may provide important insight for family violence victim-serving professionals. Improving collaborations between human welfare and animal welfare agencies, expanding community partnerships, and informing the public of the great importance of reporting any concerns of abuse are all critical at this time.
... More specifically, the police officer had access to information systems showing that Mr. Berry had a history of violence and involvement with the criminal justice system, including charges of aggravated assault, confirming the presence of the human-animal violence link. Unfortunately, such positive working relationships and prioritization of legislation involving animals do not exist in all jurisdictions, but demonstrate the inherent benefits of inter-agency coordination and collaboration [53]. ...
Article
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Across Canada and internationally, laws exist to protect animals and to stop them from becoming public nuisances and threats. The work of officers who enforce local bylaws protects both domestic animals and humans. Despite the importance of this work, research in this area is emergent, but growing. We conducted research with officers mandated to enforce legislation involving animals, with a focus on local bylaw enforcement in the province of Alberta, Canada, which includes the city of Calgary. Some experts regard Calgary as a “model city” for inter-agency collaboration. Based on partnerships with front-line officers, managers, and professional associations in a qualitative multiple-case study, this action-research project evolved towards advocacy for occupational health and safety. Participating officers spoke about the societal benefits of their work with pride, and they presented multiple examples to illustrate how local bylaw enforcement contributes to public safety and community wellbeing. Alarmingly, however, these officers consistently reported resource inadequacies, communication and information gaps, and a culture of normalized disrespect. These findings connect to the concept of “medico-legal borderlands,” which became central to this study. As this project unfolded, we seized upon opportunities to improve the officers’ working conditions, including the potential of relational coordination to promote the best practices.
... Approximately 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation that includes provisions for pets in domestic violence protection orders (Wisch, 2017a). By identifying when pet abuse is most likely to occur along the continuum of domestic violence and in conjunction with other forms of offending, behavioral scientists may help develop more effective prevention and intervention strategies (Campbell, Thompson, Harris, & Wiehe, 2018). ...
Article
Despite the widespread belief among the public and an increasing number of law enforcement personnel that individuals who harm animals often harm other people, the subject of animal maltreatment has received little attention from behavioral scientists. Advances in comparative neuroanatomy have highlighted the ability of animals to feel physical and emotional pain, including complex psychological reactions to traumatic events. These advances, and recent studies (however sparse) that support the notion that perpetrators of crimes against animals often commit other crimes, have arguably created an ethical and practical imperative for behavioral scientists to undertake a serious examination of animal maltreatment and potential mechanisms for responding to it. In addition, the close and complex relationships many Americans have with animals and the advancements in animal protection law in the past two decades necessitate expertise on the part of forensic psychologists and psychiatrists, who will increasingly be called upon to evaluate animal maltreatment offenders and consult on related policy and legislation.
... The authors speculated that developing a positive emotional attachment to a pet may be culturally-dependent and, in turn, PA may be less likely in the absence of a close bond between the victim of DV and the pets. Conclusions from these studies may be affected by confounding factors such as pet ownership rates, definitional variations between different demographic groups and differences in help-seeking behaviour by victims of DV (Campbell et al. 2018). Determining whether true differences exist is hindered by the lack of published research focusing on the prevalence of PA and DV, while controlling for demographic variables. ...
Article
This thematic review examines the literature regarding the relationship between domestic violence (DV) and pet abuse (PA) particularly in the veterinary clinical and educational contexts. It examines the significance of this relationship for the veterinary profession including the veterinarian’s role and associated legal and ethical obligations, and relevant current veterinary education standards, to identify future clinical and educational directions. Articles were sourced from online databases by searching the keywords without date restrictions. Overall, 70 articles were retrieved and reviewed. Pet abuse has been identified as a potential risk factor for DV, and DV perpetrators may harm or kill a pet to exert physical, psychological and/or emotional control over an intimate partner. Given that victims of DV often seek veterinary aid for their pets, veterinarians may act as frontline professionals in the recognition of the link between PA and DV. Veterinarians must assess individual cases for diagnostic indicators of non-accidental injury and consider demographic factors to identify suspected PA and DV. Despite existing legal and ethical obligations of the veterinarian relating to suspected PA and victims of DV, veterinarians have uncertainty and unpreparedness in addressing PA and DV in a clinical context. Many factors may contribute to the lack of veterinary intervention in suspected cases of PA and DV including concern for animal welfare, confusion about the reporting process and uncertainty in differentiating accidental versus non-accidental injuries in pets. Specific published guidelines regarding the recognition and reporting of PA and DV in the veterinary clinical context are required. Limited published evidence exists examining the implementation and success of veterinary training regarding the relationship between DV and PA. Ultimately, veterinary student education is needed to prepare veterinarians for their response to PA and DV in practice. Further research is required to examine the effects of the delivery of content, regarding the link between PA and DV, in the veterinary curriculum on veterinary student knowledge and attitudes.
... There is growing evidence that many children and adults have often witnessed one or more forms of family violence as well as animal cruelty [40,[65][66][67]. Children and adults can be exposed to direct forms of abuse or they may indirectly have experienced the effects of abuse by virtue of being a witness of family violence that has included a companion animal. ...
Article
Full-text available
Violence towards animals and violence towards people are often interconnected problems, and as such, this phenomenon has been termed the Link. Violence towards animals is a strong predictor that the abuser may inflict violence on people. However, it must not be assumed this is always the case. Professionals treating an animal or a human patient/client who has been subjected to abuse are uniquely situated to act in the role of ‘first responders’ when they suspect or recognize animal abuse, human abuse, or family violence. To more fully understand the Link the authors introduce Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems model through which to examine the complexity of the problem. Using data from earlier studies in which they interviewed police officers, other law enforcers, veterinarians, social workers, and community and family members, the authors discuss the correlation between animal cruelty and family violence. Furthermore, they examine how Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems model has the potential to better support animal and human health and welfare professionals in the identification of strategies for animals and humans caught in abusive settings. The authors recommend that these professionals become familiar with the bioecological systems model, which will enable them to better understand the psychological problems of animal cruelty and family violence and the different bioecological contributing factors. The authors emphasize transdisciplinary collaboration as vital in the recognition, prevention, and protection of animal and human victims trapped in family violence.
... child abuse, elder abuse, pet abuse, femicide, cyberviolence, stalking, and financial abuse) [8][9][10]. Besides, a current proliferation of gun and ammunition sales as families brace for COVID-19-related uncertainties have led to worrying fears of increased femicide (the intentional murder of female partners) since lockdown mandates were established [2,3]. ...
Preprint
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UNSTRUCTURED Before COVID-19, 1 in 3 women and girls, globally, were victimized by an abusive partner in intimate relationships. However, the pandemic has amplified cases of domestic violence (DV) against women and girls, with up to thrice the prevalence in DV compared to the same time last year. Evidence of the adverse effects of the pandemic on DV is still emerging, even as response and mitigation strategies are iteratively being refined by service providers, advocacy agencies, and survivors to meet stay-at-home mandates. Emotional and material support for survivors is a critical resource that is increasingly being delivered using digital and technology-based modalities, which offer several advantages and challenges. This paper rapidly describes current domestic violence mitigation approaches using digital solutions, signaling emerging best practices to support survivors, their children, and abusers during stay-at-home advisories. Examples of technology-based solutions are presented. An immediate priority is mapping out current digital solutions in response to COVID-related domestic violence, and outlining issues with uptake, coverage, and meaningful use of digital solutions.
... child abuse, elder abuse, pet abuse, femicide, cyberviolence, stalking, and financial abuse) [8][9][10]. Besides, a current proliferation of gun and ammunition sales as families brace for COVID-19-related uncertainties have led to worrying fears of increased femicide (the intentional murder of female partners) since lockdown mandates were established [2,3]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Before COVID-19, 1 in 3 women and girls, globally, were victimized by an abusive partner in intimate relationships. However, the current pandemic has amplified cases of domestic violence (DV) against women and girls, with up to thrice the prevalence in DV cases compared to the same time last year. Evidence of the adverse effects of the pandemic on DV is still emerging, even as violence prevention strategies are iteratively being refined by service providers, advocacy agencies, and survivors to meet stay-at-home mandates. Emotional and material support for survivors is a critical resource increasingly delivered using digital and technology-based modalities, which offer several advantages and challenges. This paper rapidly describes current domestic violence mitigation approaches using digital solutions, signaling emerging best practices to support survivors, their children, and abusers during stay-at-home advisories. Some examples of technology-based strategies and solutions are presented. An immediate priority is mapping out current digital solutions in response to COVID-related domestic violence, and outlining issues with uptake, coverage, and meaningful use of digital solutions.
... Animals are chosen as soft targets because abusers believe that they can get away with it because police generally don't care about animal abuse (Roguski, 2012). When perpetrators of IPV also have a history of animal abuse, victims experience 20 to 50 violent incidents before contacting police and the risk of lethality to first responders doubles (Campbell, Thompson, Harris, & Wiehe, 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
A species-spanning approach that incorporates clients’ relationships with their companion animals into family genograms, schools of social work curricula, continuing education, interviews, assessments, and interventions offers increased career opportunities, professional and personal growth and development, and a more comprehensive resolution of clients’ issues, social justice concerns, and the prevention of family violence. This article identifies six reasons why social workers should be cognizant of human–animal relationships and introduces nine ways, with action steps, in which social workers can include these relationships into training and practice outside the more developed field of veterinary social work. These venues include: agencies working in child protection and child sexual abuse; children’s advocacy centers and courthouse facility dogs; animal shelters; domestic violence shelters; public policy advocacy; clinical practice; agencies working with older and disabled populations; veterinary sentinels for intimate partner violence; and pet support services for homeless populations. Such attention to the human–animal bond can utilize social workers’ problem-solving skills to improve delivery of services, identify clients’ risk and resiliency factors, enhance social and environmental justice, expand academic inquiry, and increase attention to all of the vulnerable members of families and communities.
... Using the PTAS, Barrett, Fitzgerald, Stevenson, and Cheung (2017) found that survivors reporting AA by their partner were at greater risk for more frequent and more severe IPV. In a recent study examining reports from police officers at IPV scenes (Campbell, Thompson, Harris, & Wiehe, 2018), women reporting IPV by a suspect with a history of AA (in contrast to no such history) were significantly more likely to report being strangled (76%) and forced to have sex (26%) in addition to other IPV lethality risks (e.g., threats to kill the victim or her child, suspect's easy access to a gun). ...
Article
The confluence of developments in the assessment of animal abuse, the evolution of psychiatric nosology for the diagnosis of conduct disorder, legislative changes involving crimes against non‐human animals, and the recent inclusion of crimes against animals in the FBI's National Incident‐Based Reporting System, highlights the critical need for examining the forensic dimensions of animal abuse cases. We provide an overview of the research literature on these topics in the hope that forensic evaluators will have an evidence‐based framework for assessing cases they encounter that include perpetration of violence against animals.
... Another key barrier to victims reporting family violence, is the difficulty in safely reporting while residing with the perpetrator. My prior study of IPV incidents and law enforcement reports and observations from the scene, indicates that many victims may wait until the abuser leaves the home before attempting to call 911 to report the abuse (Campbell, et. al., 2018). During the Covid-19 pandemic, and especially when lockdown orders were in place, victims found themselves trapped with the abuser for prolonged periods of time and likely had no opportunity to separate in a manner that allowed them to safely make a phone call. ...
Article
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As feared by many, our dedicated actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 significantly impacted reporting for most forms of family violence. This concerning decline in reports was greatest during periods of lockdown, when risk of abuse was likely at its highest. A new theory termed, Opportunity to Abuse Theory, helps explain why family violence increased during the Covid-19 pandemic and after most prior natural disasters. The theory focuses on reducing opportunity to abuse by reducing victim vulnerability and increasing perpetrator accountability. Additional actions to improve detection of and reduce risk for family violence, such as improving partnerships with animal welfare organizations (animal abuse reporting was not as impacted during lockdown), enlisting the aid of non-traditional family violence report sources, better utilizing hotels to provide safety when shelter space is limited, and ensuring texting options for reporting abuse, must be considered during and after disaster.
... However, in this section we highlight studies of the statistically more prevalent, and more frequently reported, scenario of a woman being victimized by a male partner. Nearly 24% of women in the United States will experience IPV during their lifetime [68] during which they may experience numerous tactics of coercive domination and retaliation, including a partner's intentional harm or threat to harm animals as a form of psychological abuse of them, their pet, and/or their children [31,65,66,[69][70][71][72][73][74]. ...
Article
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Love and strong social bonds are known buffers in the experience of adversity. Humans often form strong bonds with non-human animals. The human-animal bond refers to a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between humans and non-human animals. Previous research suggests that strong bonds with pets may promote resilience in the experience of adversity, but a strong bond with a pet can also complicate this very experience of adversity, particularly among low-resourced and disadvantaged populations. What is the role of the human-animal bond in adversity, and what is the role of adversity in the bond between a human and a non-human animal? In this article we outline the state of research on the role of various types and sources of adversities in multispecies households (i.e., families, relationships) to consider this overarching question. We focus specifically on intimate partner violence, housing discrimination, LGBTQ+ identity-based discrimination, racism, neighborhood disadvantage, and economic inequality. We then outline an agenda for future research about love, adversity, and multispecies relationships, and discuss implications for public policy and community-based interventions.
... When a family member is already volatile, a minor annoyance from a pet can prompt an angry outburst with violence directed toward the animal and/or other family members. Worry that a pet will become a target of cruelty is a recurrent theme in studies of intimate partner violence because perpetrators often injure or even kill pets as a way to control and hurt people who care about the animal (Campbell et al., 2018). Throughout the world, the incidence of child neglect, abuse, and violence within families increased significantly during the COVID-19 epidemic (Campbell, 2020), and the European Union reported a 60% increase in the incidence of domestic violence (Mahase, 2020). ...
Article
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Amid COVID-19, children’s interactions with pet animals in the household were at times strengthened, strained, or established anew. Extensive periods of confinement made the home environment not only the site for most family activities but also the hub for children’s school and many adults’ work. Research on the role of pets during the pandemic has consisted primarily of online surveys with the general finding that sweeping changes to daily living had major consequences for the dynamics between pets and people. This article addresses issues related to young children and pet keeping within the context of the recent world health crisis and the resultant lockdowns. First, it describes how the definition of a pet has changed. It then examines children’s attachments to dogs and cats, the two species most frequently chosen as pets for young children worldwide. Next, it highlights the potential risks and rewards of children cohabitating with cats and dogs at a time when many families were sequestered in homes. The article concludes with a discussion of the limitations and contributions of research on pet keeping during COVID-19 and suggests appropriate next steps that take into consideration the welfare of young children and their companion animals.
... When perpetrators of intimate partner violence also have a history of animal abuse, victims wait until after 20 to 50 violent incidents before contacting police. The risk of lethality to first responders doubles when domestic violence incidents are also marked by animal abuse (Campbell et al. 2018). • 32% of domestic violence survivors in shelters reported their children had also harmed animals, repeating the intergenerational cycle of violence (Ascione 1998). ...
Article
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To those who primarily associate the word “humane” with “humane society”, its connection to criminology might appear to be unrelated. The origins of “humane” and “humane society” are complex and primarily reflect an abiding interest in human and societal welfare rather than animal welfare. Consequently, the origins and evolution of the current American association of humane societies with animal protection—as contrasted to its British association with rescuing victims of drowning—remain shrouded in mystery. A new focus that returns to the original roots of “humane” describing the implications of animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect as cause for human and societal concern due to their potential as sentinel indicators and predictors of interpersonal violence, rather than a strict focus on animals’ welfare or their alleged “rights”, holds great promise for advancing legislation and community programming that improves the well-being of human and non-human animal species and the prevention of crime.
... The tenets of the Glansville et al. (2020) model corroborated previous studies addressing non-compliant pet owners [40] who do not provide regular and good quality care for their pets. These owners engage in active pet cruelty [41][42][43] and passive cruelty, such as failing to provide physical activity, regular feed, grooming and veterinary visits [44]. ...
Preprint
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The study provides insights for pet food retailers, vets and managers and volunteers at animal shelters, pet food pantries and food banks into the behavioral changes in feeding and pet food buying resulting from pet food anxiety in Covidian times. This study proposes a model that investigates the impact of pet owner’s perceptions of their pet, their engagement with their pet, sociodemographic factors and the frequency of incidences where pet owners could not provide sufficient food for their pet. For this purpose, an online survey with a sample of 206 US residents was conducted. Partial least squares structural equation modelling shows that perceiving the pet as an animal or family/friend, as well as active engagement with the pet, heightens a sense of pet food anxiety. Similarly, past experiences where pet owners could not provide sufficient food for their pet impacts pet food anxiety, which leads to changes in pet food shopping and pet feeding behavior. Sociodemographic factors (biological sex, age, income and education) were not found to impact anxiety.
... The tenets of the Glansville et al. (2020) model corroborated previous studies addressing non-compliant pet owners [40] who do not provide regular and good quality care for their pets. These owners engage in active pet cruelty [41][42][43] and passive cruelty, such as failing to provide physical activity, regular feed, grooming and veterinary visits [44]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The study provides insights for pet food retailers, vets and managers and volunteers at animal shelters, pet food pantries and food banks into the behavioral changes in feeding and pet food buying resulting from pet food anxiety in Covidian times. This study proposes a model that investigates the impact of pet owner’s perceptions of their pet, their engagement with their pet, sociodemographic factors and the frequency of incidences where pet owners could not provide sufficient food for their pet. For this purpose, an online survey with a sample of 206 US residents was conducted. Partial least squares structural equation modelling shows that perceiving the pet as an animal or family/friend, as well as active engagement with the pet, heightens a sense of pet food anxiety. Similarly, past experiences where pet owners could not provide sufficient food for their pet impacts pet food anxiety, which leads to changes in pet food shopping and pet feeding behavior. Sociodemographic factors (biological sex, age, income and education) were not found to impact anxiety.
Article
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This research contributes to extant knowledge about dog bites by using police department bite incident data to explore three sets of potential correlates of bites: traits of the victim, traits of the dog including the circumstances surrounding the bite, and traits of the neighborhood in which the bite occurred. It employs data on 478 bites, over a period of 8 years, in an urban setting that includes significant numbers of roaming dogs (both feral and owned), and incorporates a number of variables not included in past research. While environmental variables such as structural abandonment contribute to dog bite risk human error is most commonly at fault.
Chapter
Elder abuse and neglect, sibling aggression, and pet abuse and its relationship to IPV are examined in this chapter. Family abuse of older adults can take the form of physical violence, emotional abuse, financial abuse or neglect. Neglect is probably the most common form of elder abuse within the family setting, especially if self-neglect is included. Older adults are at greater risk of abuse from a family member because of not wanting to be placed in an assisted living or nursing care facility, and being willing to accept an abusive caretaker to avoid this. Effects of abuse for the older adult can range from injury, loss of money, emotional distress, and health issues resulting from neglect. Of course, most caregivers of dependent older adults are not abusive. Sibling aggression (physical, emotional or sexual) is quite common; many perceive this as normal behavior. It’s more common in families with parental IPV or where other child maltreatment. Pets are important to many people, and abusers may threaten or actually harm pets as a form of controlling their partner. Battered women may hesitate leaving their abusive partner because of fears their pet may be harmed or even killed if left in the home. Shelters are beginning to respond to this need and are starting to offer emergency housing for pets.
Article
On 1 January 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began collecting data on crimes involving animal cruelty from law enforcement agencies that participate in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in the United States (U.S.). Prior to 2016, such crimes either went unreported or were lumped into an “all other offenses” category, making it difficult to understand who was committing these crimes and whether there were any connections between crimes perpetrated against animals and crimes in which there was a human victim. Animal cruelty has cruelty has been linked to certain types of human violence and, therefore, it is important for authorities to know more about the people committing these crimes. Preliminary results from an analysis of the first four years (2016–2019) of data are presented. The age and gender of animal cruelty offenders, the time of day when most crimes occur, and the most common locations where offenses take place are presented. The type of animal cruelty involved and details of the other crimes that co-occur with animal cruelty are discussed. The limitations of the data are shared and recommendations are made about other types of data that could be collected in the future to add value to the data.
Article
This article features a partnership between a veterinary school and a charity that aims to enhance the wellbeing of low‐income people. Through this partnership, the charity periodically hosts veterinary clinics for clients and their pets. Even as the veterinarians and veterinary students duly examine people's pets, these pop‐up clinics aim to help people and their pets. Hence our analysis revolves around the ethics of ‘more‐than‐human solidarity’. By ‘more‐than‐human solidarity’, we mean efforts to help others that either center on or that implicate non‐human beings. To delve into the ethical and sociological implications of subsidised veterinary services, and to assist with program planning, we conducted several in‐depth interviews with veterinarians. Most substantively, we found that the veterinary school's outreach clinics give rise to multi‐species biographical value, which is prized as a pedagogical resource for veterinary students. The veterinarians whom we interviewed felt troubled by the extent to which the pop‐up clinics ultimately benefited the veterinary school, but also by the shortage of subsidised veterinary services in the vicinity. Based on these interviews and our own reflections, we invite more scholarship on cultural, economic and political influences that shape the lives of human beings and non‐human animals alike.
Article
This study assesses the relationship between threatened/enacted violence against companion animals, intimate partner violence (IPV), fear of lethal violence, and help-seeking in a community sample of IPV survivors in Canada (n = 630). After controlling for socio-demographic covariates, IPV survivors who report animal maltreatment by their partner were significantly more likely to fear for their lives and to seek help from multiple sources of support than survivors who did not report animal maltreatment, with the relationship between animal abuse and help-seeking mediated by survivors’ fear of lethal IPV. Implications for the provision of effective services and supports to this high-risk population of IPV survivors are discussed.
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The well-being of children and non-human animals (subsequently referred to as animals) is often intertwined. Communities are unlikely to be able to best protect humans from abuse and harm unless they are working to ensure the safety of animals who reside there as well. This study is the first to utilize U.S. animal control report data and narratives to explore how children are involved in cases of animal cruelty. Children engage in abusive acts toward animals, alone, or along with peers and/or adults. Children were found to inflict abuse most often with their hands or feet as opposed to with a weapon or other object. A total of 85% of animal cruelty perpetrated by children was toward a dog or cat. Key differences between how children are involved in acts of cruelty to companion animals compared with acts involving wild animals are described and warrant further study. The cases of animal abuse or neglect reported by children were among the most severe in the study, and often involved an adult perpetrator known to the child. Neighbors rarely report child abuse or intimate partner violence in the United States, but 89% of the animal cruelty cases involving children in this study were reported by a neighbor or passerby. Although children involved in reports as a perpetrator or reporter were most often in early adolescence, children involved in cross-reports between child welfare and animal control were often under the age of 5. Improved cross-reporting and stronger partnerships between human and animal welfare agencies may provide opportunity for earlier intervention and is likely to better many human and animal lives.
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Veterinarians face ethical questions when they encounter suspected animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect. Reasons for animal maltreatment are complex and multifactorial: the crimes often co‐occur with other crimes. Laws related to animal maltreatment and veterinarians' permissive or mandated reporting vary among jurisdictions. Practitioners should be familiar with local laws. Veterinarians have an ethical duty to report suspicions of animal maltreatment to protect animal welfare and public health, while not violating client confidentiality. In cases of borderline care, it is appropriate for a veterinarian to counsel their client before reporting suspicions of maltreatment. Veterinarians should be trained in recognizing non‐accidental injury and maintain non‐accidental injury and failure to provide adequate care on their lists of differential diagnoses. Those working as forensic veterinarians must seek training in forensic science and current standards and guidelines. Veterinarians must avoid biases and testify truthfully at trial.
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Children living in households where intimate partner violence (IPV) is present are at increased risk of being exposed to concomitant maltreatment of companion animals. Recent research suggests that childhood exposure to maltreatment of companion animals is associated with compromised socioemotional well-being in childhood and adulthood. To date, there is a dearth of qualitative research examining how children experience animal maltreatment in the context of IPV. The current qualitative study explored the following research question in an ethnically diverse sample of IPV survivors: How do maternal caregivers convey the ways in which their children experience animal maltreatment in IPV-affected households? Sixty-five women with at least one child (age 7-12 years) were recruited from domestic violence agencies and described their child(ren)’s experiences of animal maltreatment in the home. Template analysis was used to analyze interview data (KALPHA = .90). Three themes emerged related to children’s experiences of animal maltreatment: (a) direct exposure to animal maltreatment and related threats, (b) emotional and behavioral responses to animal maltreatment exposure, and (c) animal maltreatment as coercive control of the child. Results suggest that children’s exposure to animal maltreatment is multifaceted and may exacerbate children’s risk of negative psychosocial outcomes in the context of co-occurring IPV. Intervention programs designed to assist children exposed to IPV should consider the extent of children’s awareness of the abuse of their pets and their strong and deleterious reactions to it.
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Cruelty toward companion animals is a well-documented, coercive tactic used by abusive partners to intimidate and control their intimate partners. Experiences of co-occurring violence are common for children living in families with intimate partner violence (IPV) and surveys show that more than half are also exposed to abuse of their pets. Given children's relationships with their pets, witnessing such abuse may be traumatic for them. Yet little is known about the prevalence and significance of this issue for children. The present study examines the experiences of children in families with co-occurring pet abuse and IPV. Using qualitative methods, 58 children ages 7-12 who were exposed to IPV were asked to describe their experiences of threats to and harm of their companion animals. Following the interviews, template analysis was employed to systematically develop codes and themes. Coding reliability was assessed using Randolph's free-marginal multirater kappa (kfree=.90). Five themes emerged from the qualitative data, the most common being children's exposure to pet abuse as a power and control tactic against their mother in the context of IPV. Other themes were animal maltreatment to discipline or punish the pet, animal cruelty by a sibling, children intervening to prevent pet abuse, and children intervening to protect the pet during a violent episode. Results indicate that children's experiences of pet abuse are multifaceted, potentially traumatic, and may involve multiple family members with diverse motives.
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Results from this study challenge the assumption that animal abusers commonly “graduate” from violence against animals to violence against humans. The criminal records of 153 animal abusers and 153 control participants were tracked and compared. Animal abusers were more likely than control participants to be interpersonally violent, but they also were more likely to commit property offenses, drug offenses, and public disorder offenses. Thus, there was an association between animal abuse and a variety of antisocial behaviors, but not violence alone. Moreover, when the time order between official records of animal abuse and interpersonal violence was examined, animal abuse was no more likely to precede than follow violent offenses. Although these findings dispute the assumption that animal abuse inevitably leads to violence toward humans, they point to an association between animal abuse and a host of antisocial behaviors, including violence. Also discussed are the methodological problems of demonstrating sequential temporal relations between animal abuse and other antisocial behaviors.
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Battered women seeking shelter were surveyed at intake about their experiences with pet abuse and the roles of pets in their abusive relationships. Of the women with pets, 46.5% reported that their batterers had threatened to harm or actually harmed their pets. Pets often served as important sources of emotional support during the relationship, particularly for women reporting pet abuse. Women continued to worry about the safety of their pets, especially given that many pets remained with the abusive partner. Implications of the findings are discussed and recommendations are presented for domestic violence and other professionals.
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Anecdotal reports of cruelty to pet animals in families where partner battering occurs are common but there exist few empirical data on this issue. Determining the forms and prevalence of such cruelty is important since abuse of pets may be a method batterers use to control their partners, may be related to batterers' lethality, and may result in children in such families being exposed to multiple forms of violence, a significant risk for mental health problems. Thirty-eight women seeking shelter at a safe house for battered partners voluntarily completed surveys about pet ownership and violence to pets. of the women reporting current or past pet ownership, 71% reported that their partner had threatened and/or actually hurt or killed one or more of their pets. Actual (as distinct from threatened) harm to pets represented the majority (57%) of reports. Fifty-eight percent of the full sample of women had children and 32% of these women reported that one or more of their children had hurt or killed pet animals; in 71% of these cases, the women had also reported animal abuse (threatened or actual) by their partner. This study represents one of the first empirical analyses of the prevalence of animal maltreatment in a sample of battered women. The high prevalence rate of batterers' threatened or actual harm of animals and the relatively high rate of animal abuse reported for the children in this sample are relevant for future research and policy analyses.
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This 11-city study sought to identify risk factors for femicide in abusive relationships. Proxies of 220 intimate partner femicide victims identified from police or medical examiner records were interviewed, along with 343 abused control women. Preincident risk factors associated in multivariate analyses with increased risk of intimate partner femicide included perpetrator's access to a gun and previous threat with a weapon, perpetrator's stepchild in the home, and estrangement, especially from a controlling partner. Never living together and prior domestic violence arrest were associated with lowered risks. Significant incident factors included the victim having left for another partner and the perpetrator's use of a gun. Other significant bivariate-level risks included stalking, forced sex, and abuse during pregnancy. There are identifiable risk factors for intimate partner femicides.
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The Domestic Violence and Mental Health Policy Initiative (DVMHPI) is an innovative project to address the unmet mental health needs of domestic violence survivors and their children and to develop models that integrate clinical and advocacy concerns. Overseeing a network of more than fifty community-based mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse, and social service agencies, as well as city and state officials, the DVMHPI promotes collaboration and provides training and technical assistance to improve the capacity of local service systems to address the traumatic effects of abuse. This report highlights the importance of generating funding streams that promote collaboration.
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Several North American studies have found a connection between domestic violence and animal abuse. This article reports on the first Australian research to examine this connection. A group of 102 women recruited through 24 domestic violence services in the state of Victoria and a nondomestic violence comparison group (102 women) recruited from the community took part in the study. Significantly higher rates of partner pet abuse, partner threats of pet abuse, and pet abuse by other family members were found in the violent families compared with the nondomestic violence group. As hypothesized, children from the violent families were reported by their mothers to have witnessed and committed significantly more animal abuse than children from the nonviolent families. Logistic regression analyses revealed, for the group as a whole, that a woman whose partner had threatened the pets was 5 times more likely to belong to the intimate partner violence group.
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Cross-reporting legislation, which permits child and animal welfare investigators to refer families with substantiated child maltreatment or animal cruelty for investigation by parallel agencies, has recently been adopted in several U.S. jurisdictions. The current study sheds light on the underlying assumption of these policies-that animal cruelty and family violence commonly co-occur. Exposure to family violence and animal cruelty is retrospectively assessed using a sample of 860 college students. Results suggest that animal abuse may be a red flag indicative of family violence in the home. Specifically, about 60% of participants who have witnessed or perpetrated animal cruelty as a child also report experiences with child maltreatment or domestic violence. Differential patterns of association were revealed between childhood victimization experiences and the type of animal cruelty exposure reported. This study extends current knowledge of the links between animal- and human-directed violence and provides initial support for the premise of cross-reporting legislation.
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Although there is a growing body of literature documenting the co-occurrence of animal abuse and intimate partner violence (IPV), only a few studies have examined the relationship between animal maltreatment, types of IPV, and abuse severity. The results of those studies have been inconclusive and in some cases even contradictory. The current study contributes new findings to that specific segment of the literature and sheds some light on the inconsistent findings in previous studies. Data were gathered from 86 abused women receiving services from domestic violence shelters across Canada via a structured survey about pet abuse and the level and types of IPV perpetrated by abusive partners. Type and severity of IPV was measured using subscales of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2) and the Checklist of Controlling Behaviors (CCB). Animal maltreatment was measured using the Partner’s Treatment of Animals Scale (PTAS). Participants were divided into three groups: women who did not have pets during their abusive relationship (n = 31), women who had pets and reported little or no animal maltreatment (n = 21), and women who had pets and reported frequent or severe animal maltreatment (n = 34). Examining within-group variations in experiences of IPV and pet abuse using a series of one-way between-groups ANOVA tests, this study provides evidence to support the conclusion that women who report that their partner mistreated their pets are themselves at significantly greater risk of more frequent and severe forms of IPV, most specifically psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. The findings point to the urgency of better understanding and mitigating the unique barriers to leaving an abusive relationship faced by women with companion animals.
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The objectives of this study were to identify intimate partner violence (IPV) incidence rates, to quantify specific risks and characteristics of these incidents and the environments in which they occur, to identify how often children are present for or injured during these incidents, and to identify differences in victim reports of IPV to law enforcement officers at the scene of the incident compared with previously published reports of IPV from retropsective, anonymous surveys and domestic violence shelter interviews. Data gathered by responding law enforcement officers at the scene of the IPV incident were used to determine the prevalence of IPV incident characteristics and outcomes. Females aged 20 to 39 years, unmarried adults, and African Americans were disproportionately represented as victims of IPV in this study. IPV incidents were significantly more likely to occur on Saturdays and Sundays and during the months of May through August. Relationship durations for suspect–victim pairs were most often less than 12 months at the time of the incident. Weapon use and/or strangulation was common, occurring in 44% of all incidents. Minors (under age 18 years) were frequently present in the home during the IPV incident or a member of the household (59%). This study provides a unique perspective of IPV by utilizing data collected directly from the scene of the incident by first responders. Previously published characteristics of IPV were confirmed, but this study also brings to light new and critical information concerning this prevalent form of violence. Study findings relating to incidence, seasonality, severity, disproportionately affected populations, and child exposure are discussed.
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This article reviews literature on the prevalence of mental health problems among women with a history of intimate partner violence. The weighted mean prevalence of mental health problems among battered women was 47.6% in 18 studies of depression, 17.9% in 13 studies of suicidality, 63.8% in 11 studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 18.5% in 10 studies of alcohol abuse, and 8.9% in four studies of drug abuse. These were typically inconsistent across studies. Weighted mean odds ratios representing associations of these problems with violence ranged from 3.55 to 5.62, and were typically consistent across studies. Variability was accounted for by differences in sampling frames. Dose-response relationships of violence to depression and PTSD were observed. Although research has not addressed many criteria for causal inferences, the existing research is consistent with the hypothesis that intimate partner violence increases risk for mental health problems. The appropriate way to conceptualize these problems deserves careful attention.
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Companion animals play a complex role in families impacted by violence. An outlet of emotional support for victims, the family pet often becomes a target for physical abuse. Results from a comprehensive e-survey of domestic violence shelters nationwide (N = 767) highlight both improvements and existing gaps in service provision for domestic violence victims and their pets. Quantitative and qualitative data noted frequently encountered obstacles to successful shelter seeking by abuse victims with companion animals including a lack of availability, funding, space, and reliable programming. Although results indicate an overall improvement in organizational awareness, fewer than half of surveyed shelters include intake questions about animals. Continued awareness and an expansion of services is needed to create viable safety planning strategies and reliable alternatives for women with companion animals in order to improve the likelihood that abuse victims will seek escape and refuge for themselves, their children, and their pets.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics and its members recognize the importance of improving the physician's ability to recognize intimate partner violence (IPV) and understand its effects on child health and development and its role in the continuum of family violence. Pediatricians are in a unique position to identify abused caregivers in pediatric settings and to evaluate and treat children raised in homes in which IPV may occur. Children exposed to IPV are at increased risk of being abused and neglected and are more likely to develop adverse health, behavioral, psychological, and social disorders later in life. Identifying IPV, therefore, may be one of the most effective means of preventing child abuse and identifying caregivers and children who may be in need of treatment and/or therapy. Pediatricians should be aware of the profound effects of exposure to IPV on children.
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Consistent with previous research, almost half of a sample of 41 pet-owning battered women reported that their partners had threatened or actually harmed their pets, and over a fourth reported that concern for their pets had affected their decisions about leaving or staying with the batterer. Differences between rural and urban women were not significant, although higher proportions of rural than urban women reported that their partners had threatened or harmed their pets and that concern for their pets had affected their decisions. For the sample as a whole, logistic regression analyses showed that women whose pets had been threatened or harmed were significantly more likely to report that concern for their pets had affected their decisions about leaving or staying. The findings suggest that service providers should inquire about battered women's concern for their pets and should include arrangements for animals in safety planning.
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Child neglect, the most prevalent form of child maltreatment, is associated with adverse psychological and educational outcomes. It is hypothesized that these outcomes may be caused by adverse brain development. However, there are very few published cross-sectional studies and no prospective studies that examine the neurodevelopmental consequences of neglect. In this article, the author comprehensively outlines the issues involved in the psychobiological research of child neglect. Pre-clinical and clinical studies will be reviewed. Throughout the article, suggestions for future research opportunities and novel ways to address methodological difficulties inherent in this field of study are offered. The results of recent neuroimaging studies of maltreated children may provide a basis for understanding the early effects of neglect on childhood brain development. The author is comprehensively examining these issues as part of the Federal Child Neglect Consortium.
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Women residing at domestic violence shelters (S group) were nearly 11 times more likely to report that their partner had hurt or killed pets than a comparison group of women who said they had not experienced intimate violence (NS group). Reports of threatened harm to pets were more than 4 times higher for the S group. Using the Conflict Tactics Scale, the authors demonstrated that severe physical violence was a significant predictor of pet abuse. The vast majority of shelter women described being emotionally close to their pets and distraught by the abuse family pets experienced. Children were often exposed to pet abuse, and most reported being distressed by these experiences. A substantial minority of S-group women reported that their concern for their pets' welfare prevented them from seeking shelter sooner. This seemed truer for women without children, who may have had stronger pet attachments. This obstacle to seeking safety should be addressed by domestic violence agencies.
Costs of intimate partner violence against women in the United States
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Animal abuse and family violence
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To leave or to stay? Battered women’s concern for vulnerable pets
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Battered pets and domestic violence: Animal abuse reported by women experiencing intimate violence and by nonabused women
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