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12 J. Animal & Env't L. 1 (2020-2021)
The Link between Animal Abuse and Crimes against Humans

handle is hein.journals/jael12 and id is 5 raw text is: THE LINK BETWEEN ANIMAL ABUSE
AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANS
Joye Keeley*
I.     Introduction
Animals are an integral part of American life, providing us with
companionship, and assistance in living, in working and with therapy. The human-
animal bond has been described as ...a mutually beneficial and dynamic
relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors considered
essential to the health and well-being of both. This includes, but is not limited [to,]
emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the
environment. The number of US households with pets has increased steadily
since the 1980s. Both the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and
the American Pet Products (APPA) have reported these increases as between 56.8%
and 68%.2 Yet, animals suffer as a result of that bond and are abused and neglected
simply because they are loved by a victim of abuse. According 2018 study
conducted by the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges of
survivors of domestic violence in New Zealand, it was found that threats to harm,
kill or get rid of animals that were important to the survivor were the most common
threats made by batterers.3
He said 'I've told you you're not going, and ifyou do I will drown that cat, don't
think that I'm joking' so I didn't go.4
This link between animal abuse and violence against humans, particularly
interpersonal violence such as partner violence and child and elder abuse has been
shown in decades or research. Survivors of abuse often have a deep and profound
attachment to their animals. In a study of online forums for domestic survivors
*Joye Keeley is the founder of the Kentucky Link Coalition and is an expert on the link between
animal abuse and crimes against humans. She is a retired lieutenant from Louisville Metro Police
Department where she investigated cases of child abuse, domestic abuse, and sexual assault of both
children and adults. Lt. Keeley received her Bachelor of Science degree in Homeland Security and
a Master of Science degree in Emergency Management from Eastern Kentucky University.
1Janet Hoy-Gerlach & Scott Wehman, Human-Animal Interactions: A Social Work Guide 16
(2017).
2 Am. Veterinary Med. Assn. Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook Executive Summary,
https://www. avma.org/sites/default/files/resources/AVMA-Pet-Demographics-Executive-
Summary.pdf; Am. Pet. Prod. Assn., The 2017-2018 APPA national pet owners survey, APPA
https://www.mceldrewyoung.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2017-2018-Pet-Survey.pdf.
3 Dr. Ang Jury, Dr. Natalie Thorburn, & Kate Burry, Pet Abuse as part of intimate partner violence,
Women's Refuge (2018), http://nationallinkcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/DV-NZ-
Link-study-2018.pdf.
4 MICHELLE NEWBERRY, PETS IN DANGER: EXPLORING THE LINK BETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
AND ANIMAL ABUSE, 34 AGGRESSION AND VIOLENT BEHAVIOR 273, 273-281 (2017).

1

JAEL, Vol. 12, No. 1

ANIMAL ABUSE AND CRIME

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