Tag Archives: animal abuse

Who should Fido fear? Depends on relationship

As states around the country move to stiffen punishments for animal cruelty, Michigan State University researchers have found a correlation between the types of animal abuse committed and the perpetrator’s relationship to an animal and its owner.

For example, animal-neglect crimes (i.e. withholding food and water) tend to be perpetrated by the animal’s owner. On the other hand, with crimes that involve kicking or stabbing, the suspect is usually an owner’s family member or intimate partner, said Laura Reese, professor of urban and regional planning.

Laura Reese and Odie

Study leader Laura Reese and her dog, Odie Photo by Laura Reese

Reese and Cassie Richard, an MSU master’s of public policy student who now works for the Oregon Commission for the Blind, studied more than 300 animal cruelty police reports in Detroit between 2007 and 2015. They categorized abuse into eight types including dog fighting, shooting, poisoning, stabbing and neglect. The researchers coded the list of motivations for cruelty as listed by the perpetrators, who were then matched with the Detroit police crime feed to examine their other patterns of crime.

The researchers also found:

  • It’s usually owners – rather than anyone else – who engage their dogs in dog fighting as a form of abuse, often for the money. But owners are also less likely to commit more active forms of cruelty, possibly because of their role as guardians.
  • Most stabbings involve family members while poisonings are typically committed by neighbors.
  • Motivations differ. For intimate partners of pet owners, frustration with a relationship is often the cause of violence, whereas for neighbors, annoyance with an animal is often the impetus for cruelty.

“This isn’t just an animal problem – it’s a human problem,” Reese said. “For example, people who shoot other humans are more likely to shoot animals. At the same time, dog fighting is a public safety problem and dogs running loose biting people due to neglect is a public health problem. So, addressing human problems will help animal problems and vice versa, and we need to encourage public officials to think that way.”

However, most policymakers don’t, she said. Animal cruelty prevention needs to be a coordinated effort between law enforcement, public agencies and nonprofits. And because forms of animal cruelty vary, public policies and public health solutions should vary.

For example, dog fighting is related to gambling, drugs and weapon offenses. Thus, crackdowns on those issues would address that form of cruelty. Meanwhile, low-cost veterinary services and enforcement of existing ordinances, such as licensing requirements and leash laws, would target owner neglect.

“Simple education and informing people about proper nutrition, spaying and neutering could be done in schools,” Reese said. “Folks often want to do the right thing, but they may not have the resources. At the same time, cruelty is also tied up with domestic violence, which raises a separate and more complex set of concerns. That’s why we need our legislators and local officials to understand the complexities of animal cruelty and make solutions a priority.”

The study is published in the journal Anthrozoös.

The journal article can be read here:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2019.1550282)

Source:  Michigan State University media release

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The FBI is now tracking cases of animal abuse

This year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will begin collecting data on animal cruelty crimes throughout the USA to prevent animal abuse and help flag those who might become violent offenders.

This is a change in departure in how statistics are kept and used.  In the past, animal cruelty was simply classified in an ‘other’ category.

The link between violent offenders and animal abuse is undeniable; animal welfare advocates have universally applauded the move.

This article in The Christian Science Monitor explains the importance of the shift.

 

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

The USA’s first permanent evacuation center (for animals)

Did you know that the USA has an evacuation center to cater for animals?

The Georgia State Animal Facility for Emergencies Center (S.A.F.E. Center) is the nation’s first permanent evacuation center for animals.  It recently opened at the Fort Valley State University. The 7,800-square-foot facility contains 105 dog cages, 84 cat cages, stalls for 30 horses plus pastures available for livestock.  It can be activated at short notice in the event of an emergency.

The S.A.F.E. Center

The S.A.F.E. Center

The facility is intended to temporarily house animals rescued from large-scale abuse cases, natural disasters, terrorist attack, as well as household pets whose owners are fleeing due to emergency evacuations.  The Georgia location is ideal for southern state communities that may be fleeing large hurricanes during hurricane season via the interstate highway system.  The University offers the services of an on-site school of veterinary medicine.

Through fundraising, the center is equipped with oxygen masks that can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and other animals.  Used for resuscitation, these masks could help during emergency surgeries as well as to help animals exposed to toxic fume releases.