December 6, 2023 1:37 am

Local News

Animal Cruelty Awareness Month: Family Violence Warning Signs

Credit: iStock

Mike Moen

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and Wisconsinites are urged to be aware of how family violence can affect pets – as well as the need for owners to provide pets a suitable living environment.

Advocacy groups say there’s often a link between domestic violence and the maltreatment of animals. Nancy Blaney – director of government affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute – said signs of an abused pet are often a red flag that humans inside the home have experienced violence, too.

“It can sometimes start with animal abuse,” said Blaney. “It’s a method of control and intimidation.”

According to the group, up to 71% of battered women have pets who also have been abused or killed.

Blaney said it’s a reminder that law enforcement, as well as friends and loved ones, need to speak up if they see signs of trouble.

Meanwhile, Blaney said if you’re thinking of adopting a pet, do some research first about whether it fits into your living situation and how you can avoid any constraints for the animal.

Blaney said as pets are being seen more often in social settings, such as restaurants and stores, people might be inspired to make one a part of their family. But a number of factors need to be considered.

“If you have a lot of small children, do you want an animal that’s really high energy, or do you want an animal who’s younger?” said Blaney. “If you already have a pet, if you’re going to bring another one into the home, will they get along?”

Blaney added that there’s a myth that pets like large dogs aren’t suitable for apartments – but it should be fine as long as you’re able to go for walks outdoors on a regular basis.

The group reiterates a common reminder in that prospective owners should not support pet stores and breeders with questionable practices, and should instead seek adoption through shelters.

This story was written by Mike Moen, a producer at Public News Service, where this story first appeared.

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