Given the recent discovery of horrifying video of the Baylor Football player beating his dog with a belt, a coach who doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of the action taken, and the result being only a misdemeanor offense, it becomes clear education in this area is critical. How will people ever understand this behavior is completely unacceptable and it not to be tolerated if research, information, and documentation are not prevalent?
Allie Phillips, Director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse and the Deputy Director of the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse at the National District Attorneys Association, has been nationally recognized for her advocacy on behalf of both animals and vulnerable victims, speaks directly to those issues. She authored “The Link between Violence to Animals and People,” a guidebook for professionals involved with Criminal Justice, a 71-page document that discusses the relationship between crimes done to animals and those perpetuated on humans.
Her foreword touches on the points contained within the document:
- Child abuse and elder abuse and neglect have been demonstrated to be correlates of animal cruelty.
- Domestic violence programs are beginning to query about pets and provide shelter for at-risk families and their pets.
- Child protective services workers, adult protective services worker and animal control officers link their observations when performing home visits because they know that where animals are at risk, people often are at risk and vice versa.
- Veterinarians are being trained in forensic pathology to determine cause of death and preservation of evidence for prosecution purposes.
- Law enforcement officers are educated about the often-extensive histories of crimes against society committed by persons who also abuse animals.
- Medical and mental health personnel are beginning to address the traumatic impact of dog bites as well as the connection between dog bites and physical abuse.
- Prosecutors are putting increased emphasis on animal abuse crimes because they understand that the behavior that harms the animal is the same behavior that harms humans.
Given the compilation of evidence and information presented within this document, the next step is taking this material and delivering clear, concise, targeted messaging to any and all populations that come in contact with animals. Organizations like the ASPCA fight this battle every day, but this needs to be fought in justice system, as well.