Not only are human family members affected by domestic abuse, but pets are as well. Many previous investigations into cases have confirmed that plenty of famous criminals abused and even killed animals as children. They then went on to commit heinous crimes and mass murder. Ted Bundy and Jeffery Dahmer have been open about their cruel animal deeds. Abusing animals may be a sign of criminal behavior according to the New York Times. Animal-control agencies and social service establishments in some areas of the U.S. are cross- trained to recognize animal abuse. Therefore, if the household pet shows signs of abuse, other domestic abuse is likely to have occurred.
The criminal justice system began to recognize domestic violence as a serious crime in the 1970’s states Encyclopedia.com. Wife beating wasn’t made illegal in every state until 1920. Sadly and disturbingly, previous to the 1970’s, abuse between couples was surprisingly acceptable and the pain they inflicted on each other was labelled as ‘mental quirks’. A former but recent article by PetsEmpower explains the intricate Forms of Intimate Partner Violence between couples. Time.com further outlines the ignorance of doctors in 50 Years Ago, Doctors Called Domestic Violence ‘Therapy’. It may seem only logical that pet abuse become more widely known after the clarity of other domestic violence issues.
Many instances of domestic violence go unreported to the authorities. There are times when the victims are too afraid to speak up since they live in fear of the domination and retaliation of their abusers. Sometimes the abuser is so skilled in manipulation that they can fool police and other authority figures into believing made up stories in order to cover up abuse. These cases may be difficult to prove as emotional abuse often runs deep in domestic relationships. These people have often been traumatized into believing that it’s okay to be treated badly and turn into bullies themselves. They then learn to protect the dominating figure in the family. An article by Psychology Today explains how domestic abuse is often twisted and may take a good psychologist to untangle the evil web that’s been woven.
It doesn’t seem like rocket science that animals feel pain similar to that of humans. A dog will yap and limp if they have a hurt leg, for example. A stray cat must know when he’s not wanted as he’ll quite easily be chased away in fear from food scraps by the wrath of angry homeowners. Research continues and questions keep arising on animals’ emotional state, but pet owners and many animal behaviorists agree that they do indeed feel an obvious and significant amount of pain. National Geographic relates that animals do show physical suffering. No matter what, humans should stop making harmful assumptions that put animals in danger and start treating them with the compassion, love and respect they clearly have a right to as living creatures of the Earth.
Many sufferers of abuse absolutely refuse to leave an abusive home without their cherished pets for fear that their abusers will seriously harm them too. If they haven’t already done so, that is. Statistics show that 3% of domestic abuse establishments accept pets. Even though this number is exceedingly low, progress will continue to be made as more concerned people become aware of the seriousness of the issue. More people should learn to educate themselves on the damaging issues that affect humans and animals alike.