Although I already believed in the commonalities of animal and child abuse, my views were readily echoed by the people I met yesterday at the Pet Expo here in Kansas City.
Over and over through the years as I have learned more about attachment issues and Reactive Attachment Disorder, I have heard it said there are three behaviors often noted in the history of sociopaths… fire setting, bedwetting and animal cruelty. A quick Google search results in many articles and links supporting this correlation, such as this page about “Animal abuse and domestic violence resources.”
One of the many lessons learned from the debacle in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was that folks often won’t leave if they have to leave their pets. Similarly, many domestic violence shelters now recognize that abused women and children might not leave if they have to leave pets behind.
As noted by Deputy Dog in my previous post, one of his performing dogs was rescued from a situation where the children and adults in the home thought nothing of using the dog as a soccer ball! How can anyone not connect the dots when animal abuse is tolerated or promoted? Lack of compassion is lack of compassion… and the ability and willingness to hurt something (or someone) weaker than you speaks volumes.
Tonight I watched one of the many spin-offs of Law and Order—Law and Order, Criminal Intent. Verrrrry interesting story line! Seems a foster mom (Whoopi Goldberg of all people!) raised herself a bunch of foster sons, and then manipulated them into stealing and killing for her, led by one of her UNsuccess stories. One comment made by one of the detectives really caught my attention…
“This child has been in foster care since he was three years old and almost certainly has attachment disorder!” Or something to that effect. I didn’t listen to it with the idea of quoting it! But WOW, go figure, they mentioned it! In a show that started with a Charlie Manson-like slaughter of a family. I guess the only way RAD can be mentioned is in the heinous cases… but what about the rest of us living with kids who lack empathy, compassion and the ability to be intimate, but aren’t so obvious?
(Picture link here courtesy of the National Animal Abuse Registry, but you don’t want to see them… I picked one of the least traumatic. They are awful, and as a veterinarian and a human being, it makes me sick.)