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Silent Victims of Domestic Violence

The following is a guest article written by animal welfare reporter and activist Deborah Kay Steinken.

Being a domestic violence counselor has made me realize that victims need to be more informed and aware of the help and resources available regarding safe havens for animals, foster care for animals in violent homes, and local humane societies that work with animal victims of domestic violence.

Companion animals living in abusive homes can’t scream for help and don’t have the choice to leave. They are usually the first to be victimized, as abusers understand and exploit the deep bond between animals and family members. Abusers use threats of violence against animals to prevent many human victims from leaving the home. This only prolongs the high risk of serious injury or death to all involved.

Even though FBI profilers, psychiatrists, and law-enforcement officials have documented that violence toward animals is one of the traits that regularly appear in the records of serial killers, rapists, mass murderers, and perpetrators of domestic violence, animals still remain the least protected and most forgotten victims. Doesn’t it make sense that when there is violence in a family, everyone from animal control to family advocates to the court system should consider all vulnerable victims, including animals?

If you need help, contact your local humane society, animal control agency, or veterinarian to see if they have temporary foster-care facilities for the companion animals of battered women.

Commenting is closed.
  • Caroline says:

    People who are cruel to animals are the lowest form of human life. Animals are defenceless creatures used for sick and sadistic means sometimes. It doesn’t bear thinking, laws need to be stricter and enforced world-wide. I always associate cruelty to animals with psychosis in humans, remember it takes a sick individual to do these crimes and they will go on to do this to humans also.

  • Julia Fest says:

    stop domestic violence!!

  • jackie says:

    No animals should have to suffer cruelty, even ones which appear dangerous can with love and time become the most devoted pets. Its only people in the main which turn dogs from being friendly into dangerous ones….all animals will give love in return for your love!!

  • Tammy Lascola says:

    Great article…. I never will understand as long as I live how people can abuse animals and people for that matter. I volunteer at our local animal shelter and we were just brought 2 dogs because the woman’s husband was abusive and she was afraid to leave them. Thank God she brought them to us!

  • Teresa Ingersoll says:

    This article is so true and very well written. Most people never think about what happens to the pets when violence happens in the home. Pets suffer almost as much as the victims do. We NEED to be the animals voices. THANK YOU Debbie for this article and making people aware of violence against animals. Humans are not the only ones who suffer during the violence.

  • Evelyn says:

    i love animals! For me animals are like human beings…Like children,they need cares,food,protection and love!

  • Kelly Trilli says:

    Please STOP Domestic Violence!

  • Tricia Blozvich says:

    Animals feel pain just like humans. Let’s make Laws more strict!

  • Suzy Cafazzo says:

    stop domestic violence!!!!!

  • Sonia Goupil says:

    Everything has to stop!!!

  • Ruchika Rathore says:

    Its very sad & painful to know that animals, who cant scream for help are victimized. People should be made aware about the animal control agency, or veterinarian in their respective locality. I am an animal lover and would do anything possible to stop this from happening.

  • Craig says:

    I love my dog and cant wait to see her! I miss her more than I miss my Wife!

  • Craig says:

    I love my dog and cant wait to see her! I miss her more than I miss my Wife!

  • Rebecca A. Ruehling Smith says:

    As a victim of DV, I hate when any creature, animal or human, is abused. I agree that something should be done for the animals, too. I have my own voice & as hard as it was to do, I used it. I’d certainly like to help animals to help animals get theirs!

  • Marina Zuanelli says:

    stop domestic violence!!!!!

  • Tucker says:


  • chloe says:

    I was ditressed watching the horses & camels used by the police in the chaos in Tahrir Square, Egypt

  • tom moore says:

    This is so sad. We need more jail time and stiffer fines for people that abuse animals, that is pretty much a proven fact over and over.