First Strike: The Violence Connection
This report compiles research addressing the links between different forms of domestic violence against animals and children. The study also goes into detail to provide definitions for concepts such as abuse, neglect, and cruelty.
The report identifies a number of reasons – underscored by the research – that animal cruelty should be taken seriously, including:
- Animal abuse cases can reveal individuals who are engaging in other criminal activities.
- Animal abuse cases can expose family violence.
- Animal cruelty is a warning sign for at-risk youth.
- People want animal cruelty to be prosecuted.
The report also highlights some of the major links between animal cruelty and other crimes that researchers have uncovered. These include:
- Animal abuse has been consistently linked with other violent criminal behaviors.
- Pet abuse is one of four predictors of domestic partner violence.
- In a study of 53 families under investigation for suspected child abuse, researchers documented pet abuse in 60 percent of the families.
- At the extreme end of the violence spectrum, serial killers and school shooters almost invariably have histories of abusing animals.
- A survey of college sophomores revealed a link between childhood animal cruelty and a tolerance for interpersonal violence as adults.