Prosecuting Intimate Partner Violence and Animal Cruelty

While control of the victim is the ultimate goal of perpetrators of intimate partner violence, victims themselves are not the only targets of these tactics. Abusers may also threaten and commit acts of violence against the victim’s children, family members, and even their pets. This article discusses strategies for protecting victims of abuse and their pets and holding offenders accountable for their actions. The author encourages prosecutors and allied professionals to work together in a coordinated fashion to better identify, investigate, and prosecute acts of animal cruelty. A coordinated community response to co-occurring animal abuse and domestic violence, together with the effective use of strategies to permit successful prosecution in the absence of active participation by the victim, will promote the safety and well-being of victims and their pets while holding the offender accountable for the abuse of all victims in the household.