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Tangled Web of Animal Abuse: The Links Between Cruelty to Animals and Human Violence

NCJ Number
R Lockwood; G R Hodge
Date Published
6 pages
Despite the historical recognition of the link between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans, law enforcement agencies, the courts, and social service agencies have, until recently, ignored the connection.
Recent attention to animal abuse as a potentially serious human problem has been prompted by the realization that many violent offenders have a history of animal abuse, the increasing attention being paid to all forms of family violence, evidence of the central role that pets play in normal and abusive families, the links between organized cruelty toward animals and other illegal activities, and growing public concern over the lenient sentences given in animal cruelty cases. Much of the current evidence indicates that animal abuse is not just the result of a personality flaw in the abuser, but is often symptomatic of a deeply disturbed family, in which children and elders may also be abused. There is also support for the hypothesis that cruelty to animals may be linked to other mental disorders.


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