“Look deep into the eyes of any animal, and then for a moment, trade places, their life becomes as precious as yours and you become as vulnerable as them. Now smile if you believe all animals deserve our respect and our protection, for in a way, they are us, and we are them.” ...Philip Ochoa
“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.” ...Abraham Lincoln “Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” ...Albert Schweitzer “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” ...St. Francis of Assisi Abuse and neglect of living creatures do not occur in a vacuum. Often, if there are animals at risk in a home setting, people are at risk there as well. Acts of abuse are about power and control, regardless of the species of the victim. When a violent offender physically lashes out, any living being may become a victim. It isn’t important to the abuser if the victim has two legs or four. Children are common victims of abuse because they are so vulnerable. For this reason, humane officers and animal control officers are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Sometimes children abuse animals as a way of coming to terms with their own victimization. Whenever a child is seen mistreating an animal the incident should be reported immediately. Sometimes young adults, particularly teenage boys, engage in extremely cruel and tortuous acts against animals. These instances should never be dismissed as "high jinks" or with a "boys will be boys" attitude. Adolescent cruelty to animals is so serious, the American Psychiatric Association recognizes it as a symptom of conduct disorder. Virtually every serial killer, and most habitual violent offenders, began by torturing and killing animals. Well-known cases of school shootings were perpetrated by boys with histories of animal abuse. Animals are used as leverage by abusers to gain compliance and silence from their victims. Victims of domestic violence may refuse to leave their abuser for fear of what will happen to the animals they are forced to leave behind (emergency shelters do not take animals). Children who are beaten or molested may be told that if they reveal their abuse, their beloved pets would be harmed. Sometimes children may even be forced by the abuser to witness, or even participate in, animal abuse. Frail elders and the developmentally disabled may be victimized as well. Dependent on others for their care, they are vulnerable at the hands of abusive perpetrators. Their situation may be as risky as their pet’s. By addressing violence or abuse in all aspects, we can help create a safer society for humans and animals alike.