Compassion for Animals

An Apology To Breed Ban Enthusiasts

I'm sorry you are frightened of my dogs and are trying to have them killed because they are pit bulls. I'm sorry you lack the understanding of this breed's true history, gentleness with people, wonderful temperament, intelligence and behavioral conformation. I'm sorry you won't read the ATTS stats regarding our breed's true temperament, putting it in the top four for temperament, scoring better than breeds like Golden Retrievers and cocker spaniels. I'm sorry that you side with and protect animal abusers by marking the breed of dog, and not the irresponsibility of the owner. I'm sorry that by your logic, I could steal a car, run some people over with it and then you can blame the make of car for the accident, as I walk free. I'm sorry you generalize one breed of dog with one group of people. I'm sorry you can't see the love and determination that many often highly educated, non-criminal and "normal" types of people show towards this breed and the great personal sacrifices that they make to take care of their dog responsibly. I'm sorry you cannot go into the shelters and see the hundreds of abandoned and abused pit bulls, dying only for the inane "crime" of being born the breed they are. I'm sorry you cannot see the look of disappointment in their eyes as someone walks by their kennel, and refuses to consider adopting them based on an ill-educated fear mongering reporter. I'm sorry that you cannot be there when the animal looks at a human for the last time, and in spite of betrayed by all humans they have met, their tail still wags as someone approaches with the syringe of Ethanol. I'm sorry you cannot be there when law enforcement shoots one of your dogs dead inside his own home in front of the children he loves for simply getting off the dog bed and walking over to say hello with his tail wagging. I'm sorry you cannot be there to rescue pit bull puppies from a plastic bag in a dumpster, dumped there by someone switching their illegal and inhumane activities to another, more lucrative breed. I'm sorry you cannot understand the difference between canine and human aggression, in the way that this breed can. Yes, I'm saying my pit bull is smarter then you. I'm sorry that the medieval witch hunting genetics of intolerance,  generalization, and racism make you feel the need to vilify a breed of dog. I'm sorry that justice, equality, tolerance, common sense are all things you hold dear as a fellow Canadian, and expect from others, but do not yourself offer them towards a pit bull or his caregiver. I'm sorry that you don't take the constructive time to petition changes in the Canadian animal cruelty act, and in the criminal code that would deal out serious punishment to the real animal abusers. I'm sorry you cannot see the disappointed look on a puppy's face when the people petting it quickly frown, and walk away when you tell them he is a pit bull. I'm sorry you feel the need to terrorize my family and my dogs for crimes we never have and never will commit. I'm sorry you don't have to live in fear of your dog's safety from hysterical and mentally unstable people trying to inflict all manner of evil upon your dogs. I'm sorry that you cannot see my breed working in some of the best Search and Rescue groups in the world, saving countless lives each year. I'm sorry our media censors and refuses to print the breed name "pit bull' when in connection with a positive act such as saving a person or child from a burning house, drowning, wild attacking animals, etc. I'm sorry you cannot see the many pit bulls registered as therapy dogs and bringing so much joy to another misunderstood, neglected demographic in our society, the senior citizen. I am sorry you can't see a pit bull kiss a child, step carefully over a kitten, or play in a sunbeam. I'm sorry you cannot wake in the morning to feel a warm pit bull cuddled next to you in bed, and know that you are their total world, and even if the house caught fire and trapped you, they would stay with you to the end. But, now that I really think about it, I'm not at all sorry you don't own a pit bull--you do not deserve one. Rob MacBean The Mongrel Hordes Lake Cowichan BC (Permission granted by me, the author, to crosspost as long as it stays intact, and with my name on it)
FACT: Research confirms a strong correlation between violence against animals and violence toward humans. It is now widely recognized that perpetrators of violent behavior are more likely to have participated in violent acts against both children and animals, and that the seeds of their behavior were planted in early childhood -- often being passed down through similar behavior by a parent or other significant adult. Parents, community leaders, prosecutors, judges, and others concerned with violence in communities are coming to recognize the importance of animal cruelty as an indicator of disturbed family relationships and future aggressive behavior towards humans.
Courtesy of University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Interpersonal violence is more pervasive than many people realize. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her life. In recent years, a strong and surprising connection has been documented linking animal abuse and domestic violence: in 85 percent of homes where women or children are being abused, a pet is also suffering abuse. This connection is an important one because the repercussions of animal abuse affect humans in a multitude of ways. "Sixty percent of women who are the victims of domestic violence have had a pet killed by violence. Also startling is the fact that up to 40 percent of battered women delay going to a shelter because they fear what will happen to their pet left behind," states Dr. Rhonda Schulman, a small animal internist at the University of Illinois Teaching Hospital in Urbana. Dr. Schulman helped organize "Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse: The Cruel Connection," a conference for veterinarians, law enforcement officers, and domestic violence and social workers. The conference addressed topics such as intentional abuse, the perspective of an animal investigations officer, laws against animal violence, and how veterinarians can help in situations of suspected animal or domestic violence. "Many people have the attitude 'it could never happen to me.' However, domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic boundaries. It is something that can happen to any woman: your mother, sister, friend, or you. Understanding the dynamics of domestic and animal violence can help us recognize a problem situation and intervene," says Dr. Schulman. Pets may be used as a means to establish dominance. Abusers may send the message "I can do this to the pet and I can do it to you," or "If you don't do as I say, then this will happen to you." Pets are also used as a means of control: "If you don't do this, I'll hurt your animal." Pets are a way of buying silence from children, too: "If you tell anyone, then I'll hurt your dog!" Animal violence has a very serious negative impact on this nation's children. People who abused pets as children are far more likely to commit murder or other violent crimes as an adult. In fact the most reliable predictors of adult violence is animal abuse as a child, even as young as 6 years old. Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy are infamous examples of this sad statistic. "Another concern is the impact on children of observing violence," explains Dr. Schulman. "Young children are very impressionable. A child who watches his pet or his mother being abused grows up thinking this is the norm. Unfortunately children are often spectators at dogfights, an illegal practice that is on the rise. Children can become de-sensitized to violence. They learn that you demonstrate that you are more powerful than another creature by hitting and kicking." The link between animal and domestic violence means that animal cruelty is being taken more seriously. Animal abuse laws are getting stricter. Social workers are learning that women may hesitate to leave an abuser because of concerns about a pet. Therefore, offering a solution to the pet's endangerment may enable more women to leave abusive homes. Veterinarians, whose main concern is for animal health, are becoming aware that they are on the front line of defense against domestic violence. More veterinarians are receiving training, such as at the Urbana conference, to deal with suspected cases of domestic violence. By working together veterinarians, social workers, and law enforcement officers can combat the problems of animal abuse and domestic violence. For more information, see the U.S. Humane Society's Web Ann Marie Falk Information Specialist University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Animal Cruelty/Domestic Fact Sheet

Why do batterers threaten, abuse, or kill animals?
  • To demonstrate and confirm power and control over the family.
  • To isolate the victim and children.
  • To eliminate competition for attention.
  • To force the family to keep violence a secret.
  • To teach submission.
  • To retaliate for acts of independence and self-determination.
  • To perpetuate the context of terror.
  • To prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her/him to return.
  • To punish the victim for leaving.
  • To degrade the victim through involvement in the abuse.
Why should we recognize animal abuse as a form of battering?
  • Animal abuse exposes the deliberateness of battering rather than loss of control.
  • Animal abuse and child abuse are closely related.
  • Animal abuse is often a tool used by batterers to emotionally control or coerce victims.
  • Threatening, injuring, or killing animals can indicate the potential for increased violence or lethality.
  • Victims may postpone leaving out of fear for their pets' safety.
  • Identifying animal abusers can help identify other victims of violence within the family.
What can victims of domestic violence do to protect their companion animals?
  • Develop an emergency plan for sheltering the pets, themselves, and their children (Review a copy of the First Strike® planning guide, Making the Connection: Protecting Your Pet From Domestic Violence.)
  • Establish ownership of the pets (obtain an animal license, proof of vaccinations or veterinary receipts in victim's name to help prove they own the pets).
  • Prepare the pets for departure (collect vaccination and medical records, collar and identification, medication, bowls, bedding, etc.).
  • Ask for assistance from law enforcement or animal care and control officers to reclaim the pets if left behind.
What are suggested intake questions regarding companion animals that should be asked by a domestic violence shelter?
  • Do you now have a pet? If yes, how many and what kinds?
  • Have you had a pet in the past 12 months? If yes, what kinds?
  • Has your partner ever hurt or killed a family pet? If yes, describe.
  • Has your partner ever threatened to hurt or kill a family pet? If yes, describe.
  • Have you ever hurt or killed a family pet? If yes, describe.
  • Have any of your children ever hurt or killed a family pet? If yes, describe.
  • Was the animal considered the child's, yours, your partner's or the family's pet?
  • Did your concern for a pet's welfare keep you from coming to a shelter sooner than now? If yes, explain.
  • Did you leave the abusive partner because of the abuse of a pet? If yes, describe.
What can advocates do to raise awareness about the connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence in their communities?
  • Take animal abuse seriously.
  • Contact their counterparts in other agencies.
  • Develop cross-training and cross-reporting among animal welfare, domestic violence, child abuse and other related agencies.
  • Support strong anticruelty laws.
  • Develop community anti-violence coalitions.
  • Develop community based programs to promote empathy and humane education.
  • Encourage research on the connection.
  • Work with local animal shelters, veterinarians, veterinary schools and boarding kennels to develop emergency housing programs for pets.
  • Collect data in their own agencies.
  • Add questions to intake forms about animal cruelty.