PAAM webinar to explore 'Family Violence & Animal Abuse'

The Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan’s Violence Against Women Project and the Humane Society of the United States will present the webinar “Family Violence & Animal Abuse: How prosecuting animal abuse can save lives!” on Monday, April 24, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Animal abuse is commonly found in homes where there is domestic violence. Research finds that 83% of victims who seek shelter from domestic violence and have pets, report that the abuser hurt or threatened to hurt their companion animal(s).

In situations of intimate partner violence, the abuse of companion animals is used to control the victims, who are subject to coercion through threats to kill or harm pets. This results in further physical and emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and remaining silent about the crimes perpetrated against them. Victims are generally reluctant to enter shelters if they will be forced to leave their animals behind.

This training will feature VAWP training attorney Dana Deasy and Erin Aiello, an assistant district attorney for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Working for three different district attorney offices Aiello has had the opportunity to serve both urban and rural communities. Officially, her primary caseload is and has been the prosecution of abuse related crimes such as child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Unofficially, Aiello has been her own one-person animal cruelty unit in every office she has joined. In 2011, she was recognized by the Animal Control Association of Massachusetts for her work on animal cruelty cases. In private practice, Aiello was devoted to animal cruelty welfare and was proud to as a local counsel for the ASPCA in one of the largest animal cruelty and seizure cases in New England. Currently, Aiello works in the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit in the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, where she focuses primarily on the prosecution of high risk domestic violence offenders.

Topics  include:

• The relationship between violence against animals and other vulnerable populations

• Unique considerations for animal-related investigations

• Animal abuse as a high-risk factor for lethality

• Strategies for a multidisciplinary approach between law enforcement, Prosecutors, and human services organizations.

This free virtual training is open to law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates, field services officers, humane investigators, veterinarians, and judges.

To register, visit and click on “training.”