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Protect Animals and Children From Abuse in Connecticut

October 13, 2010

Targeting: The CT State Senate & House

Started by: Stephanie Feldstein

The link between animal abuse and other violent crimes is well established. In cases of domestic violence, animals are often abused in front of women and children as a means to intimidate and hurt them. In addition, children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to abuse animals themselves. When animal protection and child protection agencies recognize this link and work together, they’re able to better identify cases of abuse and more effectively protect innocent victims.

In Connecticut, a bill that would require the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Agriculture to cross-report animal cruelty and child abuse failed last session in a filibuster, but Rep. Diana Urban (D-Stonington) plans to reintroduce the legislation.

Tell the Connecticut legislature to pass this important piece of legislation next session to protect children and animals from abuse.

BACKGROUND

The link between animal abuse and violent crimes is no secret. Someone who is capable of abusing an animal is highly likely to abuse people, too. And where there’s domestic violence, it’s a safe bet to assume that the pet dog or cat isn’t pampered by the household abuser.

Abusing animals is often the first step on a path of increasing violence …

When it comes to children, domestic violence and animal abuse isn’t just a two-way street. It’s more like a six-lane highway, there are so many correlations. Not only is an abused or neglected family pet a good indication that other vulnerable members of the household might be in danger, but pets are often intentionally targeted by abusers as a form of intimidation.

In addition, kids who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to abuse animals themselves, using pets as scapegoats for their anger or as a way of mimicking the behavior they’re witnessing at home. They may become desensitized to violence, and abusing animals is often the first step on a path of increasing violence throughout their lives.

Members of the Connecticut legislature recognize the link between animal cruelty and other forms of violence. A few years ago, they passed a law that allows pets to be included in domestic protective orders. This past session, they considered a bill which would require the state Department of Children and Families and the Department of Agriculture to cross-report cases of child abuse and animal cruelty.

The bill failed in a late-session filibuster, but members of the legislative Select Committee on Children aren’t giving up. Committee co-chair Rep. Diana Urban (D-Stonington) plans to re-introduce the bill next session. She believes many animal cruelty cases are discounted during plea-bargaining, causing agencies to miss a red flag that there might be other abuse in the home.

“The FBI has recognized since 1971 that there is a link between animal abuse and future violent behavior.” Urban says the bill aims to catch that link so authorities can step in before a child is abused or establishes anti-social patterns.

Rep. Urban is optimistic about the bill. From legislators to high school officials to YMCA staff, there is widespread support for the measure. As there should be — who can argue with protecting society’s most vulnerable members? And yet, it didn’t pass last session.

It only makes sense that agencies should cross-report to catch abusers early and keep innocent victims safe, and Connecticut is so close to setting an example for the rest of the country.

Let Connecticut legislators know that you support laws protecting both children and animals.

Please note that I do not live in Connecticut and it accepted my signature.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. karen lyons kalmenson permalink
    October 14, 2010 5:21 am

    violence must never be tolerated
    no matter where it is aimed
    abuse is abuse, that
    is the name of the game
    whether the victim walks, swim
    or crawls is not what
    should matter
    all the innocent must be protected
    from further blood being splattered

    Like

  2. Andrew Butt permalink
    October 18, 2010 5:02 am

    No to violence of any form or description.

    Like

  3. October 18, 2010 6:33 am

    Domestic violence affects everyone involved! Please help STOP the violence!

    Like

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