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What it Means: Utilizing the Connection

Understanding the connection between animal and family violence opens new avenues for both preventing and recovering from abuse.

* Women and children who are being victimized and who have companion animals are more likely to enter a shelter when their pet can be safe-housed.

* Violence against or neglect of pets is often more obvious to Animal violence is family violenceneighbors and family, yet such reports often go without investigation. Dispatching officers or others for such house calls would yield both greater detection and connection opportunities for families suffering from violence.

* The emotional support of a pet during stressful times cannot be underestimated. Instead of mourning the loss of their "best friend" while trying to build a new life, abuse survivors who know their pets are safe can look forward to the day they reconnect in a safe environment.

* Animal-assisted interventions can facilitate the road to recovery for children subjected to abuse, neglect, and domestic violence. The A Rotta Love Plus Dog Therapy Team has seen immediate and tangible results from this work, such as when a child connects with a certain dog and tells them their story of past trauma, things that they may not have told an adult.

 

See how the link can be utilized. Watch this brief video from a Georgia shelter that utilizes the link to save battered families and their companion animals.


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Next Steps

Animal violence is family violence.

MN AFAS:

  • Promotes understanding the connection between human and animal violence via MN AFAS member meetings, formal conferences, and public communications such as this Website.

  • Advocates for legal changes and resources to help public servants — at the state, county and city level — to better protect humans and companion animals from abuse. Currently, this includes lobbying for a bill to include animals in Orders for Protection.

  • Seeks to develop a network of safehousing for abused companion animals. Currently, we are discovering and developing relationships with veterinarians, animal rescues, and others who informally shelter animals and seeking resources to develop a more official, comprehensive foster-based program to temporarily house these beloved pets.

 

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