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Law Courses Catalog

Animal Abuse and Human Violence

This course will evaluate the correlations between animal cruelty and domestic violence, the legal implications of the Link, and policy considerations for early intervention, prosecution, and sentencing of offenders. Studies show a strong link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. A study conducted by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence shows that 85.4% of women and 63% of children arriving at the domestic violence shelters reported incidents of animal abuse. Other studies resulted in similar findings and show that women are often afraid to leave an abusive situation due to fear that the user will harm the family pet.


This course will cover new trends in legislation to address the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence, including pet protective orders, which codify inclusions of the family pets in a victim’s restraining order against an abuser. Other topics may include restraining orders, animal safe house programs, and legislative topics such as animal registries, mandatory psychological evaluations, cross reporting, mandatory reporting, ownership restrictions, and enhanced penalties for animal cruelty committed in conjunction with crimes against people. Students will analyze how the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence may influence decision-making and the creation of policy by law enforcement, animal control officers, judges, legislators, and other government officials. Grading will be based upon class participation and a final paper.