Is there a relationship between animal abuse and family violence and can this information be used in legal proceedings?
Yes, animal cruelty is often a common dynamic in families where violence occurs. Violent individuals may exploit the connection of the their human victim(s) with their animals and use it to intimidate and control their human victim(s) into submission and/or silence, or to exact revenge. It is not uncommon for perpetrators of intimate partner violence to threaten, harm or kill their partner’s companion animals. Animal cruelty is included in the definition of domestic violence in Colorado statute and animals can be included as protected property under both civil and criminal protection orders. Additionally, animal abuse by a parent or caregiver has implications for determining the “best interests of a child” in parenting and custody matters.