The Link Between Animal and Human Abuse
Family pets and other animals are not safe from the effects of domestic violence. Abusers harm animals as either a stepping stone toward violence against other humans or as a way to control or cause distress to their human victim.
If you suspect animal abuse, contact Knox County Animal Control at (865) 215-2444. If you are experiencing domestic violence and want to protect your pet from your abuser, we can help. Call us at (865) 521-6336.
Facts About Animal Abuse
- See the full definition of cruelty to animals in Tennessee Code Annotated 39-14-202 and of aggravated cruelty to animals in Tennessee Code Annotated 39-14-212.
- Animal abusers are five times more likely to harm humans.
- Animal abuse is often considered a "predictor crime" for domestic violence.
- An early study into the link between human and animal abuse found that in 88% of child abuse cases, animal abuse also occurred in the household.
- A 2017 study showed 89% of women who had companion animals during an abusive relationship reported that their animals were threatened, harmed, or killed by their abusive partner.
- Survivors may delay leaving an abusive relationship out of fear for their pet's safety.
- A child who abuses animals may also be acting out against violence in his or her own home. Professional intervention can remove a child from a potentially abusive situation and divert him or her from future abusive behavior.