Over the past decade,
the link between animal abuse and domestic violence has become clearer.
Numerous studies have found violent criminals and serial killers to be
common perpetrators of animal abuse, and since abusers aim to hurt anything
victims hold dear, family pets are also popular targets. As a result,
the Institute decided to train Animal Abuse Investigators to identify
human abuse while investigating animal abuse. As these investigators make
home visits, they would be in a unique position to identify and assist
isolated rural victims of abuse who might otherwise go unnoticed.
A Competency-Based Training Manual for Animal Abuse Investigators was developed specifically for those who work in the field of animal services.
In addition to chapters on the dynamics of domestic violence, overcoming
rural barriers, and utilizing community resources, it contains information
specific to the effects of domestic violence on animals as both victims
and perpetrators. The heart of the manual teaches professionals to spot
the signs of abuse, how to ask a potential victim about abuse, and how
to refer victims to the proper agencies for services.
The Animal Abuse Investigator
Training Pilot Project was intimated in January, 2000 and trained over
90 investigators. The project also sparked cross-training efforts whereby
domestic violence professionals were provided with animal abuse training.
Currently, Florida Legislators are considering a bill that would require
cross training of animal abuse and domestic violence professionals statewide.
With sustained funding the Institute hopes to continue providing these
much needed training events.
· Florida's Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) and Other Nutrition ProgramStaff
on Wheels Volunteers & Other Elder Services Staff
Animal Abuse Investigators