Experts warn of ties between domestic, animal abuse
November 27, 2011 10:52 PM
By TRAVIS WHITEHEAD/The Brownsville Herald
In this three-day series, which culminates on Tuesday, The Brownsville Herald Looks at the problem of animal cruelty in the Rio Grande Valley and the ways area law enforcement is dealing with the problem.
Experts say that people who engage in domestic abuse against a spouse or children often will use the family pet to control the rest of the family through fear.
Brenda Heredia, executive director of the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen, has seen cases in which people fleeing domestic violence are preoccupied with the safety of their pets because emergency shelters don’t allow in animals.
"People don’t think that’s all that important," Heredia said. "They think, ‘Food, clothes,’ all that kind of stuff."
However, the welfare of the family pet is crucial, because an abusive relative often uses the animal as leverage.
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