Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence

VME 6051


Over the last decade, criminal penalties for animal cruelty have dramatically increased, as has the prosecution of such cases. This change has been closely linked to growing recognition of the relationship between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence. Once a subject of common anecdotal knowledge — this connection has been substantiated by a significant body of work in social science.

Veterinarians and forensic specialists play a central role in the investigation and prosecution of animal abuse and neglect. It is essential that such professionals have a thorough understanding of the roots of animal abuse and neglect and the connection of such crimes to interpersonal and societal violence.

Participants in this course will gain a fundamental knowledge of this connection (as explained by sociologists, psychologists, law enforcement professionals, and others); examine both qualitative and quantitative studies and case histories of the correlation between cruelty to animals, child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, and teen violence; and explore the broad terrain of community-level partnerships involving humane societies, social service providers, veterinarians, the courts, and law enforcement agencies. Participants will learn how to recognize the connection between cruelty to animals and human violence and will review a variety of intervention programs for victims and at-risk or offending populations. The course is designed for veterinary professionals, investigators, animal care and control personnel, criminal justice and law enforcement officials, protective service professionals, and anyone else interested in exploring the issue of animal cruelty and human violence.


Module Topic
Module 1 Animal History of the Concept, Overview and Background
Module 2 Animal Cruelty and the Law
Module 3 Animal Cruelty and Criminal Behavior
Module 4 Law Enforcement Response
Module 5 Cruelty and Human Development
Module 6 Animal Cruelty and Child Abuse
Module 7 Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse
Module 8 Elder Abuse and Animal Hoarding
Module 9 Prevention, Intervention and Treatment
Module 10 The Veterinarian’s Role in Preventing Violence