The Importance of Cross-Reporting Animal and Human Violence
OAA MISSION AREA: Pet Protection
ACTION LEVEL: State, Ohio House Bill (HB) 33
Cross-reporting presupposes that family violence —domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and animal cruelty—rarely occurs in a vacuum. All too often, these crimes are a “red flag” that other forms of violence have occurred, or will. For various reasons, animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect are frequently the first “link” in the chain of family violence.
Human lives will be saved when animal control or humane law enforcement officers observe and report signs of possible abuse of a child or older adult. Similarly, when social service professionals report signs of animal abuse, they may not only save an animal’s life, they may also help prevent the escalation of violence in the household.
In Ohio, humane officers are rightly required by current Ohio law to report child maltreatment, elder abuse or domestic violence to family services. But currently, no such requirements are in place to report animal abuse. Ohio House Bill 33 would require professions such as social service professionals and veterinarians to report animal abuse when they suspect it.
What You Can Do
The Ohio House of Representatives will start re-start committee hearings and floor sessions in May. Please call your State Representative (____) and send an email, letter or postcard to their office urging them to support the passage of Ohio House Bill 33 on the House floor, which was unanimously passed out of the House Criminal Justice Committee with no opposition. Share this Action Alert on your social media to raise awareness, educate, and encourage others to take action.
Dear Representative ______,
As your constituent, I urge you to support H.B. 33 which would require social service professionals and veterinarians to report animal abuse to humane agents and mandates animal control officers to report child abuse. H.B. 33 unanimously passed out of the House Criminal Justice Committee without any opposing testimony.
H.B. 33 not only protects companion animals from abuse, but also adds another tool through which domestic abuse can be identified and stopped. There is undeniable evidence demonstrating a link between animal abuse and violence towards humans. One study found that 70% of people charged with cruelty to animals were known by police for other violent behavior–including homicide. Another study found that 61.5% of animal abuse offenders had also committed an assault, 17% had committed sexual abuse, and 8% had arson convictions.
These statistics are troubling and highlight the critical need for this legislation. Those who are willing to harm animals tend to harm others. The implementation of cross-reporting mechanisms and procedures will increase the flow of information which can be an essential tool to stop family violence.
In summary, I ask you to support and help to pass H.B. 33. Thank you for your consideration of this issue.
CONTACTS FOR ACTION: Find contact info for your Ohio House Representative here. (See the “Member Search” options.) If mailing via USPS, address the envelope to “Representative ______” at the indicated address.