The Thought Breaks My Heart


Animal caretakers, "staff,"mothers and/or fathers are a true special breed. A Two Precious Babies class all to their own one could say, specifically our capacity for empathy is unrivaled.

In my many years of having the responsibility of caring for a pet I would occasionally hear a horror story or rumor that would crush me. Maybe it is because at the root of my soul I feel every living character deserves to be loved and to have a chance to love in return. To hear or read about appalling treatment animal(s) receive always made me want to turn a blind eye, or perhaps feel fortunate that I could least change the life of the ones I am responsible for.

Yet this statistic (from a study published in 1999 is quoted frequently) hasPoor, poor baby stuck in my mind: a person who abuses animals is five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than individuals without a history of animal abuse.

There have been an array of surveys and wide variety of studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology since the 1970s that have demonstrated a correlation between violent offenders and histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty in their youth and/or adolescent years. Outcomes of these studies are being taken seriously by governments across the US who are now cross-training social service and animal control agencies in how to recognize abusive behavior likely stemming from animal abuse.

The simple thing that brought this to my attention recently is something I happened to find and click on. Poor, poor Melissa; and then questions that ran through my mind. Why? was the first one to catch in my throat. However it might be these things that makes one lose hope in humans as a whole. From puppy mills, "crush videos," horse auctions, dog fighting, etc. there is enough to break my heart.

Please should you see or even suspect abuse, please report it; think of the consequences if you don't.


    As a therapist for child survivors of abuse, I have heard many stories that have broken my heart. Almost to a fault, for each child who has experienced abuse, there is also a story about an animal that has also experienced abuse.
    Children and teenagers who abuse animals are often re-enacting what has happened to them. The trauma of witnessing a pet being abused, also leaves long-lasting impact on a child, and increases the likelihood that the child will re-enact that pain later down the road.
    Animal abuse is awful on its own face. But we must also be aware that it could be the sign of something even more awful. Thanks for writing this to bring awareness to a very serious issue.

  • Yvonne DiVita

    BZTAT, I cannot help but wonder why law enforcement officials are not on the up and up about this. It’s not “theory” any longer. It’s reality.
    What do we need to do to convince the law that animal abuse is just a symtpom… and it isn’t the breed of dog… it’s the person/family, who need monitoring.


    I think it is because they are afraid of what they will find if they dig deeper. Sadly, our culture tends to bury its proverbial head in the sand to avoid the reality of what it would take to really heal what ails us.
    If law enforcement were to investigate every case that could be a case of child abuse as well, our systems would be overwhelmed. Sad, but true. Our systems are set up to only deal with that which we cannot avoid.
    But the more educated the public becomes, the more our systems are compelled to act. I appreciate BlogPaws’ effort to educate, and hope that this is a continuing theme that we highlight here.