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Programs Educate Law Enforcement on Link Between Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 67 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2000 Pages: 31-36
Claire Ponder; Randall Lockwood
Date Published
November 2000
6 pages
This article describes the origins, successes, and obstacles experienced by four model programs in which police agencies partner with anti-violence organizations to develop interagency collaborations aimed at reducing domestic assault and animal cruelty.
The programs resulted from research indicating that most families that experience domestic violence often experience abuse of pets. The four model programs operate in diverse settings that range from small, rural communities to large metropolitan areas. The program in Baltimore County, MD, includes a campaign to educate the public, police, domestic violence advocates, child protective services, animal control officers, and veterinarians about the link between animal abuse and family violence. The program also includes an informal network of emergency shelters for the pets of domestic assault victims and training of professionals on the link between animal abuse and domestic violence. The Humane Society of Missouri initiated a Web of Cruelty Workgroup to develop interagency cooperation and training regarding the connection between domestic violence and animal abuse. The police department of Biddeford, ME, has developed a training program and curriculum called The Link to educate law enforcement, domestic violence advocates, and other anti-violence professionals about the connection between animal abuse and family violence. The police department of Colorado Springs, CO, established a program called Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team (DVERT) that includes an intake team to review each domestic assault team and a secondary response team that deals with issues related to children, elders, at-risk adults, military personnel, or animal abuse. These programs reflect the multitude of possibilities for police executives interested in starting programs in their areas. Photograph