Frank Caesar Branchini 150 Cardamon Drive Edgewater, MD 21037-1126 USA (410) 224-8947 (home) email@example.com
Testimony in Support of SB 747/HB 407 – Pet Protective Orders I have over 20 years of experience in animal shelter management in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, and Baltimore County. During my 8 years of service as Executive Director of Baltimore Humane I worked with community advocates for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence to create a program offering shelter for animals belonging to victims of domestic violence who wanted to leave their abusers. I have a graduate degree in Sociology and when we were working to set up this program I read through the studies which have been done on the relationship between domestic violence and animal abuse. There is a considerable body of excellent research and the findings have been consistent. Domestic violence is a significant problem in the United States. It is estimated that 2 million women are physically assaulted by their partners annually. 1) There is a significant relationship between animal abuse and crimes of violence against people. In fact, a history of animal abuse is considered to be a key predictor of violent criminal behavior. •
Animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people, four times more likely to commit property crimes, and three times more likely to have a record for drug or disorderly conduct offenses
2) There is a significant relationship between domestic violence and animal abuse. •
The National Coalition against Domestic Violence conducted a study of women and children at domestic violence shelters and found that 85.4 percent of women and 63.0 percent of children reported incidents of animal abuse. .Women who seek safety at shelters are nearly 11 times more likely to report that their partner has hurt or killed their animals than women who have not experienced domestic abuse. Of all the women who enter shelters to escape abuse, 57 percent have had a pet killed by their abuser.
3) Victims of domestic violence are often afraid to leave abusive situations because of fears of what will happen to their companion
animals. 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. Nearly 48% of domestic violence victims say they would have fled their abusive situation sooner only if they had a safe place to leave their dog or cat.
Passage of the Pet Protection Orders legislation will provide urgently needed support for both people and animals.