While mental health professionals have known about the link between animal abuse and violence towards human for years, until recently there’s been no way to track how often it occurs or identify repeat offenders. Even more alarming is the fact that, while all 50 states had some animal protection laws, most of the offenses were classified as misdemeanors. It wasn’t until November of 2019 that a federal law was passed making animal cruelty a federal felony that is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
On today’s show, Dr. Mary Lou Randour talks about the importance of tracking violent offenses against animals, updates us on what we know about the link between violence towards humans and violence towards animals, and talks about when animal mistreatment is a warning sign – in both children and adults – of worse things to come.
Dr. Randour, a psychologist, is Senior Advisor, Animal Cruelty Programs and Training, Animal Welfare Institute, Washington, D. C. She is the author of handbooks such as A Common Bond: Child Maltreatment and Animals in the Family, as well as AniCare Child, a treatment approach for children who abuse animals. Dr. Randour has published articles in numerous professional journals, most recently in Trauma, Violence & Abuse, as well as written chapters for edited volumes, such as “The Psychology of Animal Abuse Offenders,” co-authored with Dr. Maya Gupta, which is in the newly released book Animal Cruelty: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Understanding.