Over the past 35 years, researchers have established significant correlations between animal cruelty and other family violence, including child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse. This research on “The Link” confirms what professionals in a variety of human services and animal welfare disciplines have witnessed for decades – animal cruelty does not occur in a vacuum.
The mistreatment of animals is therefore no longer seen as an isolated incident that can be ignored. Instead, it is often an indicator of family violence (a “red flag” that other family members in the household may not be safe) or a predictor of future violent behavior by the perpetrator (research has shown that many serial killers and school shooters committed their first acts of violence against animals).
It is important for all responders and advocates in multiple disciplines to recognize abuse and understand the importance of cross-reporting suspected abuse.
THLN, in association with Heath Mobile Veterinary Services, a member of the North Texas LINK Coalition, has compiled cross-reporting information for human services and animal welfare professionals. For information about how to recognize and report abuse, please visit these links:
In addition, THLN can provide written resources and speakers for Texas agencies and organizations wanting to know more about the Link. THLN is a Founding Member of the North Texas LINK Coalition, along with the SPCA of Texas, the Dallas County District Attorney's Office, Mazie's Mission, and several local human and social services agencies. The National Link Coalition's mission is to facilitate the North Texas area's recognition and understanding of the dynamic connection between animal abuse and the cycle of family and societal violence. The North Texas LINK Coalition provides online resources, training, and networking events across the DFW area. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
More about the Link
The National Link Coalition is a multi-disciplinary, collaborative initiative to increase awareness and address public policy, programs and research. The Coalition’s goal is to stop the cycle of violence that often affects multiple family members. To achieve this critical goal, the Coalition provides information and resources through its website and lists upcoming trainings and conferences about The Link. It also collects information about federal, state, and local legislative efforts to address The Link, such as bills aiming to include pets in domestic violence protective orders, increasing penalties for perpetrators of animal cruelty, and allowing or mandating cross-reporting for human services and animal welfare professionals. The monthly National Link Coalition newsletter often reveals the life-saving importance of Cross-Reporting.
One example, a Florida woman brought her dog to a veterinary hospital. She quietly slipped a note to a staff member, asking her to call the police because her boyfriend had been beating and threatening her. The boyfriend was arrested and charged with domestic violence based on the report made by the veterinary hospital.