Summary: HSUS Urges Vigilance to Protect Elders, Prevent Animal Cruelty
The HSUS Urges Vigilance to Protect Elders, Prevent Animal Cruelty
May is Older American's Month and The HSUS is joining forces with the U.S. Administration on Aging to highlight the unique relationship older Americans have with animals. The HSUS is also drawing on this year's theme of "What We Do Makes a Difference" to raise awareness about the need for communities and social service agencies to recognize the connection between elder abuse and animal cruelty.
"Many older Americans are particularly attached to their pets," said Virginia M. Prevas, manager of The HSUS' First Strike program against animal cruelty. "Pets provide comfort and stress relief, humor, affection, and protection as well as fostering social interactions."
Prevas points out that this special bond also makes pets vulnerable to abuse by those who want to exert power and control over an older adult.
"In more than two-thirds of domestic elder abuse cases, the perpetrators are family members who may neglect or abuse a pet," Prevas said. "As with other forms of domestic violence, animal cruelty is a form of control or retaliation."
Abuse or neglect of animals could also be a sign that an elderly person is unable to care for themselves and is in need of assistance. "By being aware of the signs of animal abuse, medical professionals, neighbors, social workers, friends and family members can help older Americans and their pets," said Prevas.
The Administration on Aging will be pointing out this connection and citing The HSUS' resources in this area in their publications and outreach efforts for Older Americans Month.
"Addressing the problem of elder abuse is one of my top priorities. The animal protection network performs a unique and valuable role as sentinels, looking-out for the safety of older people and their pets. They can make a significant difference in the communities across the country where they work in collaboration with our aging and adult protective services programs," said Assistant Secretary for Aging, Josefina Carbonell.
Everyone can help prevent animal cruelty and elder abuse. The HSUS offers these suggestions to identify and act on suspected animal abuse:
The blue pages in your phone book contain phone numbers for local law enforcement, adult protective services or other social service agencies and animal control. Contact the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) for your state's elder abuse hotline number: http://www.ncea.aoa.gov, or 1-855-500-3537 (ELDR). The Eldercare Locater can provide information about aging services in your community: www.eldercare.gov, or 800-677-1116.
For more information or for a free brochure on the connection between elder abuse and animal cruelty, contact The HSUS' First Strike campaign. Call toll free at 888-213-0956, e-mail email@example.com, visit the web site at www.hsusfirststrike.org, or write to First Strike, The HSUS; 2100 L St., NW; Washington, DC 20037. For a free brochure on the connection between elder abuse and animal cruelty, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) provides leadership, funding and technical support through Older Americans Act programs to the national aging network of states, area agencies on aging, local service providers and aging organization partners. Through AoA initiatives, services and support such as elder abuse prevention, home delivered meals, in-home care, and transportation are provided to assist in maintaining the dignity and quality of life of older Americans and their families.
Courtesy of The Humane Society of the United States