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Jordyn Allstun
English 1201.229
Vicki Stalbird
March 29, 2016
Relating Domestic Violence to Animal Cruelty
Animal cruelty and domestic violence are two separate things in themselves, however,
not a lot of people take both of these topics and compare them. Domestic Violence has a huge
relevance to animal cruelty because studies have shown that when young children are exposed to
domestic violence, they often replicate that behavior and use it not only on their pets, but on
other people in the future and the people and animals that are affected by this act of behavior,
have long lasting emotional and physical complications. In fact, one out of every fifteen children
are witnesses of these cases making it a higher percentage of them carrying out the same type of
performance. There should be a larger awareness about this because it can save lives of both
animals and people. People should report violence that they see and take this problem to a higher
regard than how someone already does because it could even mean saving the pain from a close
friend or family member. It's just a matter of how close of attention someone pays to the warning
signs and signals to how much pain and suffering is able to be saved and avoided.
Animal Cruelty can be defined in many ways just depending on the individual. Even
though this is the case, there is an overall definition that is for the most part accepted world wide.
This encompasses the harmful act of neglect, torture, or killing of or to an animal. Similarly,
Foster and Smith have a comparable definition animal cruelty that says, It encompasses a
variety of behaviors harmful to animals, ranging from neglect to malicious torture and killing.
(Foster, Smith) One might also take into account animal testing as well to be considered abuse.

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There are many different aspects of testing such as for medications, cosmetics, and even to find
ways of curing harmful diseases and illnesses. There are laws put in place for these type of
actions and will follow with consequences. Abusing animals can start at a young age or could
just be one time event as an adult, however, it can be more damaging than one might think.
Neglect is defined as when the pets owner doesnt take care of them by not providing food,
water, shelter, or the veterinary care needed to keep the pet alive, healthy, and well. Torturing an
animal could possibly be even worse than just killing them. The reason for this is because they
are put through more pain and suffering than if they were to just be killed right then and there.
Torture is when there is physical harm and pain caused on purpose rather than just to protect
someones own self or to survive. There is a very relevant story that exemplifies this type of
behavior. A dog with the name of Caitlyn was only fifteen months old when her muzzle was
taped completely shut and this ended up cutting off partial circulation of her tongue and parts of
her lips. She was left like this for a total of three whole days creating major complications with
being able to eat or drink. She was a chocolate Staffordshire bull terrier mix. The man
responsible for this who was imprisoned for this kind of act was William Leonard Dodson and he
was forty one years old and had been known previously with a small criminal record. There was
a fine of five thousand dollars and five years in prison. Adding on to this, seventy percent of
people who have abused animals have also had a long record of crime.
Domestic Violence can be between children, spouses, and or elderly people. The most
widely accepted definition is the aggressive behavior within the home, and is usually between
spouses but again can have children and elderly people included. There are a few categories of
domestic violence as well. This includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse,
economic abuse, and psychological abuse. The physical abuse is when a person hits, slaps,

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shoves, or anything physically harmful. This also could include forcing drugs or alcohol on
someone. In addition to this category, denying the partner medical care that is needed is also
physical abuse. The emotional abuse encompasses condescending words, repetitive criticism,
name calling, and downgrading someones self-worth and self-esteem. Sexual abuse is of course
forcing any sort of sexual contact on someone else without their acquiescence. The next two
groups arent as commonly heard about, however they still do exist. Economic abuse is when
someone takes their partners money and withholds it from them so that they have to be
completely dependent on the abuser. Another part of this category is when they dont allow the
other person to attend school or their place of employment. The last category of psychological
abuse is mainly about intimidation and threat. Other aspects are when they are so demeaning that
they cause the other person to do harm to themselves, and or other people. As a matter of fact,
studies have shown that the majority of victims are female, and as high of a percentage of eighty
five. The other fifteen percent are men who are being abused. Furthermore, on average, every
fifteen seconds, there is a woman who has been abused in one shape or another and this will
happen to one in three women in their lifetime. One of the biggest statistics found that relates
these two topics together is that many batterers were exposed to abusive behavior growing up
with animals and people so then they carried out the same characteristics when they were older
which tends to grow more violent as time passes.
These two topics mesh together very well. They both have aspects of abuse and their
reasoning is very similar as well. People take out their aggression on animals just like they would
on a human being. A lot of the time, people abuse animals to take out their anger from their past
or even from their family angering them. This could not only hurt the animal, but kill them as
well. One huge aspect of this is how much children are exposed to this type of behavior. Over

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time, they could become desensitized and think that violence is the normal thing to do. When
they are exposed, they usually carry out that same behavior when they grow older because that is
all they have ever known. Relating to this, they could also have been the person getting and
receiving the abuse. This could become dangerous, very dangerous. This main reasons for doing
this to an animal or a person is to demonstrate dominance or control, inflict punishment or
retaliation, silence, isolate or threaten, and/or to eliminate competition for attention. When
choosing the victim, the abuser tends to go for someone or something that is weaker than
themselves because they know that they can win the argument or problem that is occurring.
There are a few stories that easily demonstrates similar aspects and other aspects of this
type of situation that usually arent thought of. There was a woman who was beaten by her
spouse and had a pet that she had become attached to over the years, just like anyone would with
their own pet. However that bond between her and her pet really made a difference in her and her
spouses relationship. Her spouse continually beat her day in and day out but she knew she had to
get out of the situation and the only way that she could was to leave. There was only one thing
keeping her from leaving and it was her pet. She knew that if she left, not only would her spouse
come looking for her with rage, but her pet would also face consequences that she knew would
never end up well. What she said was, When I was getting abused, after my beatings... my dog,
hed know and hed cry too, hed put his little head on my chest, lick my face. I owe that little
dog, because he kept me going. I vowed that I would never abandon him. Hes my little hero...
hes what helps me keep it together. He is just like my child, he is MY dog. Another quote that
have been recorded about a similar situation is, The animals were a big part of why I didnt
leave for a shelter, a really big part. I was their caretaker, they depended on me and supported me
and I didnt want to let them down.

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Some people might beg to differ that these two topics do not relate to each other at all and
that it is simply just a choice of lifestyle. This is understandable, however, there are many studies
that have been done to show the accurate data of similarities. Often cases, there are domestic
violence instances that occur without having the criminal background or animal abuse record,
however, these are less often than instances where there is a past of abuse to an animal or a
criminal record of some sort.
There are many things that people could do to make this harsh situation taken more
seriously, different ways to report this, and many things that people should take into
consideration when finding out if domestic violence and or animal abuse is taking place. One
thing that someone can do to make this a more severe topic is to think of it in a different manner.
If an individual put themselves in another individual's shoes who has been getting abused.
Another way of thinking is if they put themselves in a close relation to someone who had this
problem, such as a close friend, they would for sure take it more seriously. Also, there are ways
that this type of complication needs to be reported, keeping in mind that the abuser could take
advantage of the victim even more if they found out that they had been reported. This means that
taking safe precautions is a must in order to possibly save a life. First off, there has to be a
conversation on whether or not there is a pet involved and if so, there should be a plan to get
them away from the situation as well. This sort of conversation needs to be in private too,
otherwise the abuser could suspect something was up. The biggest option available is to reach
out and communicate with others to find and receive help. Many places and organizations are
present for this specific reason and are there to help. These organizations also know how to go
about the situation and make sure that it is resolved peacefully and without harm. If people are
willing to reach out, they could potentially save thousands of lives of both humans and animals.

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Studies have shown that over two million people are harmed and over one thousand and three
hundred people are killed every year because of domestic violence. It was reported that there
were 1,880 cases of animal abuse in the year 2007. This was almost ten years ago which means
that there are many, many more in todays time.
The United States has really started to come up with new laws and legislations for this
type of problem. Currently, all fifty states have a type of felony consequence for animal abuse,
but before 1986, only four states had these types of laws. Domestic violence laws and provisions
has also come a long way, and every state also has a consequence of some sort for this action as
The animals and people who go through these complications and problems arent all
fixed at once either. They could be left with anxiety, distress, trust issues, depression, and much,
much more. This takes a long toll on them not only physically depending on how harsh their
conditions were, but also mentally. Sometimes they will feel depressed for years afterwards and
there is no way to overcome this or help any more than possible. They are emotionally worn and
torn apart. The trust factor will be hard to get back because they have known their partner for
usually quite a long time, thinking that they were trustworthy people, when really, nobody could
trust them.
Overall, people can learn a lot from this problem that is happening all around the world.
Adding to this, people might not even notice that this kind of problem is happening to someone
close to them, which is why opening their eyes to this harsh reality is such an important concept.
Individuals can suspect when harsh things like this are happening and can reach out to numerous
people who are willing to help. Many options available doesnt necessarily make it easy for
someone to escape from a harsh household, but it makes it easier for others around them to see

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what is truly happening and they are able to take action. Animals can also show warning signals
to people because of how they act. So this is another way of keeping someones eyes open to
animal abuse. Animals lives matter just as much as humans and if people notice all of the
warning signs, they could help save millions of injuries, and thousands of lives.

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Works Cited
"Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence." Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence. The Advocates,
Aug. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
Ascione, Frank R., et al. "Cruelty To Animals In Normative, Sexually Abused, And Outpatient
Psychiatric Samples Of 6- To 12-Year-Old Children: Relations To Maltreatment And
Exposure To Domestic Violence." Anthrozoos 16.3 (2003): 194-212. Environment
Complete. Web. 22 Mar. 2016
Battle, Tim. "August 2013." Note Book. Alberta SPCA, Aug. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
"Domestic Violence." Domestic Violence. 6 Oct. 2015. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.
Domestic Violence. Prosecuting Attorney. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.
Grinberg, Emanuella. "Dog Recovering after Being Found with Muzzle Taped Shut." CNN.
Cable News Network, 4 June 2015. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.
Kellow, K.C. "Silent Suffering." Dog World 85.10 (2000): 54. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 22
Mar. 2016.