The Link is the connection between animal abuse and interpersonal violence including domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and other forms of human-directed violence. Essentially, where animals are harmed people are at risk, and where people are harmed animals are at risk. Despite society’s increased knowledge and acceptance of this connection, there is little training provided for those who work with animals routinely, such as veterinarians, veterinary technicians, animal control officers, and animal trainers.
Even if one knows the Link exists, this does not mean a person knows where and how to make a report of a suspicion of animal abuse. Furthermore, if a person cannot identify signs consistent with animal abuse and neglect, then a report will not be made. Therefore, training must include identifying signs of the various types of animal abuse, including neglect, simple and gross abuse, organized fighting such as dog fighting, animal sexual abuse, ritualistic abuse, and emotional abuse.
In this lecture, we will discuss the Link, how to report concerns of animal abuse, and how to identify signs of possible abuse and neglect. With this knowledge, we can better serve our communities and the animals entrusted to our care.