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Pets & Family Violence

The Link Between Family Violence and Pets

  • Nearly ½ of the women entering shelters for protection against domestic violence say their pet has been threatened, injured or killed by their partner, according to several surveys.

  • Perhaps even worse for the women involved, others report they have delayed leaving their homes because they feared for their pets’ safety.

  • Why do batterers threaten, abuse and/or kill animals? Among the motivations:

    • to demonstrate and confirm power and control over the family;

    • to force the family to keep violence a secret;

    • to perpetuate the context of terror;

    • to prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her/him to return;

    • to punish the victim for leaving;

    • to degrade the victim through involvement in the abuse.

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