Walk Brings Awareness to Connection Between Pets and Domestic Violence

An Alaskan Malamute. (Photo by brando / Flickr)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

An abused pet may be the first sign of domestic violence.

That’s according to Beth Davis with the Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center. She says neighbors are usually the ones to make the call about neglected or abused animals.

“They know something’s going on in the home, and they don’t have the courage to say that, but they feel freer to call it on the dog or cat outside, and so sometimes the first respondents are the veterinarians or the [National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] that come in to respond to animal cruelty and find out that when they go in the home there’s something more amiss.”

Davis says some veterinarians even receive training to investigate more deeply when pets come into the office with unexplained injuries.

She says abusive partners may also use pets as a control tactic.

“A lot of domestic violence and child abusers may kill or harm or even threaten the animals to exert their dominance and power over their victims.”

A person experiencing abuse may be more likely to stay with a partner if an animal is in the picture.

Davis says KWRCC is partnering with the Humane Society of Kodiak on a walk this weekend to raise awareness about these connections. Paws for a Cause begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s, with registration at 9:30 a.m. There is a $10 sign-up fee.

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