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Experts reveal link between animal abuse and crimes against humans

Legal experts in Missouri said the link between animal cruelty and crimes against humans is common. (KRCG)

Legal experts in Missouri said the link between animal cruelty and crimes against humans is common.

"There are many, many studies which correlate an absolute link between animal abuse and abuse towards human beings including domestic violence, child abuse, and elder abuse," Jason Lamb with the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys said.

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, abusers of animals are five times as likely to harm humans. Nearly half of the victims who stay in violent households do so because they are afraid for their animals.

"Domestic violence abusers very, very often use animal abuse as a method of power and control over their victim. Child abusers often use it as a way leading up to that type of abuse as well," Lamb said.

Experts said children who commit acts of animal abuse are more likely to harm humans later in life. Of 36 convicted multiple murderers questioned in one study, 46 percent said they committed acts of animal torture as adolescents.

Cross reporting of animal abuse and crimes against humans in an investigation is key.

"A very important reason to take animal abuse seriously is because catching that at an early stage can either be a deterrent or it can help break that cycle that might exist between whoever is abusing that animal and what they are doing and what they may start to do to a human in that household as well," Lamb said.

If you or someone you know experienced animal abuse or domestic violence, experts suggest reaching out to your local law enforcement agency.

Victims can also reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. The Rose Brooks Shelter in Kansas City, Hope House in Independence and Lee's Summit, and Children and Family Center of Northwest Missouri in Maryville are shelters for victims of domestic violence that also welcome pets.


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