Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence – A Correlated Generalized Deviance

I believe it is safe to say that a majority of defendants charged in our courts with animal abuse have prior domestic violence convictions as well. It is because of the “generalized deviance” that domestic violence and animal abuse are correlated. Anti-social behavior of different levels can happen in one individual but how that individual came to exercise the deviance is more complicated as there are many pathways that lead to it. An example of one of these exercises is the individuals use of violence or other anti-social manipulations to “solve” problems which is called “modeling” and explains why violence is often intergenerational. Although animal abuse and domestic violence are correlated, it varies as to which occurs first.

But are there any numbers we can connect here; any studies conducted to make this deviance a little more tangible? A study done in New Jersey found that in 88% of households where children were physically abused, there were records of animal abuse as well. In Wisconsin, four out of five battered women cases revealed the partner had been violent toward pets. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence conducted a study of abuse victims after arriving at domestic violence shelters and found that 85.4% of women and 63.0% of children reported incidents of pet abuse. The Chicago Police Department’s Domestic Violence Program compiled a history of arrestees for animal fighting/animal abuse for the period of 2000-2001 and found that approximately 30% had a conviction of domestic violence on their record. Animal abuse is often associated with other serious crimes such as drug offenses, gangs, weapons violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence and the individuals committing these acts of violence against animals are viewed as a danger to the public and therefore, must be addressed. The whole premise of an animal abuser is to demonstrate power. The abuser will batter an animal to hold control over his family, to isolate them and enforce submission. He will abuse a pet to perpetuate a fearful environment; to prevent a victim from leaving or coerce them to return. They will batter an animal to punish a victim for showing independence.

First responders and professionals who investigate abuse should be aware and trained to observe the cycle of violence. Some states practice this observance and take it a step further by implementing cross-reporting laws. When an animal control officer is called to investigate animal abuse in a home with children, they are mandated to report child abuse when animal abuse is confirmed. Children are generally more willing to discuss what happened to a pet than they are to their own victimization. In Ohio, any child under the age of 18 years of age who commits cruelty to a pet, is required to undergo psychological evaluation to determine individual or family counseling as necessary. The legislation also permit’s the court to include a protection order for any companion animal in the home of the person seeking a criminal protection order, domestic violence protection order, a civil stalking order, a sexual offense protection order, or the approval of a civil domestic violence consent agreement. Often a partner will abuse a pet that is in the home as a tactic to keep the victim under control. It is understood that many victims will not leave when it puts their pets in harm’s way. When questioning victims and their children, first responders should be alert for signs of child and/or pet victimization. They should ask if the abuser or anyone else threatened to harm their pet and ask if they need help finding a safe place for their pet to go if they leave. Many victims will not prosecute their abuser however, animal cruelty prosecution can result in incarceration or treatment that is equal to results from a domestic violence prosecution.

Domestic Violence Shelters, Animal Shelters, and Humane Organizations can do much to offer protection for animal victims. When working with abuse victims in their safety planning, be sure they include their pets. Question them about any threats or injuries to their pets. Work with legislators to include pets in orders of protection and educate judges on the necessities of these inclusions. Team up with your local animal control and humane organizations and local domestic violence shelters to establish emergency housing of pets coming from homes experiencing violence. If there is no space available, establish a network of homes that provide emergency care for these pets through foster care agencies then incorporate these connections in school programs where they might reach children who are at risk of family violence. Also, many YWCA’s have pet shelter programs that are in partnership with the humane society, local clinics, kennels, stables, and veterinarians.

Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence often choose to stay in abusive relationships to protect their pets. A study shows that 71% of women seeking “safe haven” in domestic violence shelters had companion animals threatened, hurt, or killed by their abuser. Many victims never even go to a shelter because of this fear for their pets. It is in recognition of this fact that many states have passed laws including pets in court-issued orders of protection and to include any animal that is harmed or threatened with harm in the state’s definition of “domestic violence.” Society doesn’t consider animal cruelty as severe as violence against humans but it is increasingly viewed as a serious issue by professionals in law enforcement and mental health. Effective prosecution of animal abuse can provide early and timely response to those who are, or who are at risk of becoming, a threat to the safety of others. It is a tool for protection for victims of family violence, developing new skills and understanding which will help build a truly compassionate society.

Gun Control Debate – In The Wake Of So Many Tragedies!

After 19 Mass Shootings the past 5 years, there needs to be a honest debate about guns in the United States. Should we as citizens have less guns? More guns? Stricter gun laws? etc etc. Maybe it goes deeper than just banning certain types of assault guns! There seems to be a few things in common with all these shooting tragedies:

#1. Guns
#2. Mental Health Problems
#3. Antidepressants
#4. Gun Free Zones

So we had individuals with mental health problems, on antidepressants, with guns going to gun free zones, to kill unarmed innocent people… Lets take a look at all four and see what we as a society can change for the Greater Good Of Everyone!

#1. Guns – Guns in the United States will never be taken out of the picture because the Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

So do we need more or less gun Laws to keep our citizens safe? While I do agree with tightening up some of the Gun Laws, that will still do very little to stop someone that wants to commit a homicide. History statistics show no real change between more Gun Laws and any less Gun Crimes. A unarmed citizen in my opinion is nothing more than a VICTIM.

#2 Mental Health – How do we look at people with mental health issues as a society? These people are the forgotten and unwanted. Are they getting the help they need? Due to the high cost of medical care, even our mental health citizens living with family members may not be getting the right care – if any at all.

Mental Health Care in the U.S. will also have to be debated if we are to keep our society and children safer. Will this stop all violence NO, but in my opinion its moving towards the right direction. Think about that the next time you look at someone homeless – living in the shadows.

#3 Antidepressants – Antidepressants are they working? Are we over medicating our Society? That might be best left for another story – but I think we are at the expense of our children.

We seemed to be more fixated on a quick fix (even if its temporary), than the cause and long term solutions to our problems.

#4 Gun Free Zones – In a perfect world where everyone, would read a sign and obey the rules this would work. Now back to reality and keeping yourself and family safe. Not sure about your town, but the bad economy has brought less, not more to my public services including police officers on the street. The Police can not be everywhere all the time, and usually show up to mop up the crime. So why should we have Gun-Free Zones when they end up being “Magnets for Mass Shooters”? Why should my children be sitting ducks with no protection?

You can put your families life in your own hands and arm yourself, or in someone else’s dream world filled with mental illness and antidepressants – its your choice.

The solution to the mass violence in our society may be more than just more Gun Laws, and then forget about it. We will never be able to get rid of all gun tragedies, but there does seem to be steps we can take to slow the pace down. But before that can take place we need a honest national debate. What do you think would be the solution to America’s mass gun violence?

I will put my families life in my own hands – the odds are sooooo much better in my favor!

Crime Reporting Can Pay – Reward Money is Often Available to Those Who Rat Out Criminals

Reporting crime can pay! Law enforcement services often offer rewards for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of criminals.

Crime Stoppers, an organization that assists in apprehending criminals within the U.S. is a respected resource for information pertaining to wanted fugitives and related reward funds.

For example, there is a $1,000 reward available at this time for information about three robbery suspects in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The three broke into and burglarized a residence on January 7, 2010. The home owners were out of the house and the crime took place between the hours of approximately 9:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., according to police investigators.

The home on Ely Road had its back door pried open and several items, including DVDs, jewelry, cash (all in a small beige colored safe) as well as apparel, were taken. Fortunately, the victim had installed a video surveillance camera and there is footage of the incident. This fact should make the crooks a little easier to track down!

All three burglars were men. They were black; one appeared old and taller than the other two. At the time of the incident one was wearing a dark hooded jacket and ball cap. His dark jeans had a design on the back pockets. The second suspect had short hair and was wearing a dark down jacket, dark shoes and khaki pants. The older, taller suspect had facial hair when the burglary took place.

Memphis is another Tennessee locale that experiences a high degree of crime. Those who report usable information about incidents in the area are often eligible for reward money.

A few Memphis crimes that are under investigation include a shooting that took place at the Warren Apartments near Clementine and Warren. One man received a chest wound in the incident. A stolen Police squad car, taken in South Memphis, has been recovered. The vehicle was taken while an officer chased two suspects on foot. Nothing was stolen from the vehicle. The officers do have information on a suspect, however; no one is in custody at this time.

A reward of up to $7,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man who robbed a Midtown credit union. The racing fan wore a No. 88 NASCAR hat while he held up the First South Credit Union at 1941 Madison at gun point.

After the robbery the man ran out and fled on foot, running southbound on Tucker Street. He was a white man, likely in his mid to late 30’s with light brown hair. At the time of the incident he had a goatee and wore a light color t-shirt. He was armed with a black semi-automatic pistol.

If you do have any information about these suspects please contact the local authorities immediately. You may also talk with Crime Stoppers to disclose the suspects’ identity and whereabouts. Keeping criminals off the streets is one very effective way to help enhance everyone’s home security.

Changes to Gun Ownership Laws

Guns are Killing Machines

It was a beautiful day in April, 1996, with lots of tourists around the Port Arthur jail ruins in Tasmania. The weather was perfect for a great day looking over this exciting and historic site. Some were just arriving in busses others were already enjoying their tour. Some were inside, some outside and some were having lunch in the café. Suddenly and without any prior warning shots rang out and people started falling into their lunches when a crazed gunmen fired around inside the restaurant.

Within seconds 20 people were dead and at least 10 were wounded. Then he moved outside to the coaches and chased passengers around in the parking lot. Many hid behind trees while others sheltered behind the busses. Then in his car he opened fire on a mother shielding her two daughters whom he also shot.

Finally two policemen arrived and he held them at bay while sheltering in a guest house with two elderly hostages. A stand-off lasted for 18 hours before he accidentally set fire to it and was almost incinerated. Fleeing the burning building he was then taken into custody. By that time there were 35 dead and 21 wounded. It was Australia’s worst ever massacre.

The Australian government under the leadership of John Howard acted immediately. A week or so later (May 5) conclusions were drawn that firearm ownership was not a right and self-defence is not a valid reason to own firearms. On 10 May 1996 the gun program was comprehensive enough to be implemented immediately. There was no time for debate, no arguments against the decision. Every pump-action shotgun and all semiautomatic firearms (even of.22 rim fire caliber) were banned from private ownership. The government opted to pay people to turn in such firearms for destruction over the course of the following year.

This was sensible action that saw licensed shooters protest violently against the new laws. But they did not suffer except that now they must belong to a registered shooting club. There are other criteria in play as well.

With recent mass shootings in the United States one must ask why, now two months or more after the murder of 20 children and six adults at a primary school, the same decisive action has stalled. If people are allowed the benefit of owning weapons surely there has got to be logic and common sense applied to them.

Naturally enough the gun laws in Australia have not prevented crime and many are killed by guns still but there are no mass killings as before. If people are denied the weapons for committing mass murder the thinking is that they won’t do as much damage with knives (also banned by Australian government) or hand guns. This has been borne out in the time since Port Arthur.

Money speaks and there is a lot of it being made as people panic and buy up weapons following such outrageous events as those described above. So why is it more important for a few to make themselves wealthy by selling these weapons to anyone who wants them. They are surely profiting on the graves of innocent victims whose lives are cancelled in an instant by this kind of tolerance and insanity?

Crime Prevention – Safety Tips When Living On A Farm

If you live on a farm somewhere out in the boonies, there are some special safety concerns that you should be aware of. Crops, expensive farm equipment, and livestock can be targets for potential thieves. Not only that, vandals can make it their leisure time to destroy such things in a short amount of time. The following is a checklist to see if you are at risk for the crime of theft or vandalism:

  • Are the farmyard areas and external sides of the buildings well-lit at night?
  • Are all the fences in good, working order or in need of repair?
  • Are all your farm tools and equipment marked with identification numbers or serial numbers?
  • Do you count your livestock on a regular basis?
  • Do you have less than five people working for you throughout the year?
  • Do you conduct background checks on your employees prior to employing them on your farm?
  • Do you lock up the storage sheds and grain bins at night?
  • Do the access roads have gates?
  • Does each of your livestock have tattoos?
  • Is all of the farm equipment, big and small, locked up at night?

No doubt it is a bigger responsibility to maintain home security on your own farm than it is if you owned your own house. Nevertheless, personal safety and home security measures should not be overlooked when living on a farm. You should observe all these tips when safeguarding your farm and the other property you have. By doing so, you make it difficult for a thief to steal your property or a vandal to destroy it.