A dog decapitated in front of children, a litter of kittens hurled against a wall and a cat held in the air while its legs were broken one by one are Christchurch examples of the link between pet abuse and family violence.
Women's refuge centres across the city compiled examples of the correlation between animal cruelty and family violence after a study released last month that investigated the issue in New Zealand for the first time.
The Pets as Pawns study was a Women's Refuge-SPCA project that showed violence towards animals was often used as a way for abusive men to maintain control over their families. Dr Michael Roguski surveyed more than 200 Women's Refuge clients and found 54 per cent said a family member or partner had threatened to kill their pets. One-third of respondents had a pet injured or killed during a relationship, and much of the abuse was witnessed by children.
Christchurch was not included in the survey because Roguski did not want to overburden the city's swamped refuge centres after the earthquakes. He had no doubt the same violence occurred in Christchurch, and the city's refuge centres have confirmed his belief. Christchurch Women's Refuge spokeswoman Julie McCloy said 70 per cent of clients in rural Canterbury feared for their pets, and 30 per cent held the same concerns in the city.
All of the case workers had clients reluctant to leave violent relationships because they feared their pets would be killed if left to the mercy of their partner. "Abusing animals is another form of power and control that is used to manipulate women and torture them," McCloy said. "We are aware of women and children staying in unsafe situations because they wanted to look after their animals."
Christchurch West Women's Refuge found 25 per cent of one worker's caseload included concerns over animal abuse or mistreatment. The centre was aware of a dog that had been decapitated, a cat that had its legs broken and pets that had suffered cigarette burns and punches to the head, a spokeswoman said. "The animal takes the brunt of the physical abuse because it is used to intimidate or evoke fear. It's all about letting the woman know that's going to happen to her if she leaves or does something he dislikes."
The Battered Women's Trust had seen the same abuse. In a fit of rage, one woman's partner went after a litter of kittens. Another client's partner would hunt down the dog and kick it when he was angry. SPCA Canterbury is working alongside Women's Refuge to target the issue.
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dustbinflowers wrote:why's this in Vege thread? Maybe better in Current Affairs?
ive often thought that the vege section would be best split into a culinary section and an animal rights/protest movement section, matt doesnt agree tho
“There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” -Mother Theresa
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