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The Silent Victims: Animal Abuse in                    Domestic Violence For families suffering with domestic violence or abuse, the use or                                threat of abuse against companion animals is often used for                                         leverage by the controlling/violent member of the family to keep                                       others in line or silent. The violence may be in the form of spousal abuse, child abuse (both physical and sexual), or elder abuse. The statistics are chilling. It is estimated that 88 percent of pets living in households with domestic abuse are either abused or killed. Of all the women who enter shelters to escape abuse, 57 percent have had a pet killed by their abuser. One in four said that she stayed with the batterer because she feared leaving the pet behind. The likelihood that women's shelter personnel will encounter                                         women and children who have been coerced or controlled                                                          by batterers using animal abuse as a weapon is high                                                                simply because: 1. More families in America have pets than have children. 2. The majority of pet owners are parents with children. 3. 64.1% of households with children under age 6, and 74.8% of households with children over age 6, also have  Probably all advocates at some point have worked with a victim who reluctant to leave because of a pet, and taking the pet was not an option. And it’s not just because shelters don’t accept pets. If the victim is moving into a new house or apartment, there is a strong chance that the landlord does not accept pets. This can be especially devestating to someone who’s pet is their only family and leaving the animal behind would be the same as leaving a child behind in an abusive situation.
A Non-Profit Organization Serving Victims of Abuse for Over 30 Years in North Central Montana