Symposium explores links between animal abuse and other violence


by Cynthia Price, Legal News

At last Saturday’s symposium in Grand Rapids sponsored by Cooley Law School’s Animal Law Society, national presenter Phil Arkow (shown above) made a case for the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence and/or child abuse. Drawing on years of research by academics and field workers, Arkow presented a massive amount of evidence linking the tendency to animal abuse with the tendency to abuse humans, viewing it as both an indicator of the potential for future abuse and an integral part of the way some perpetrators of domestic violence maintain control over their victims.

Arkow, a consultant for the ASPCA and Animals and Society Institute, noted that an abuser may harm animals as part of an attempt to normalize abuse within the family. He stated, “Many victims blame themselves for ... abuse and are isolated from others. Animal cruelty is a wake-up call that the fault lies... in the  personality of the abuser.”
Cooley’s Animal Law Society advocates protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.