Violence against animals and violence against people are not distinct and separate problems. Rather, they are part of a larger pattern of violent crimes that often co-exist. Research shows a significant correlation between animal cruelty and domestic violence, the physical and sexual abuse of children, sexual assault and other violent crimes. This relationship between violence against animals and people is commonly known as the violence link;
Animal cruelty can play an important role in criminal offender threat assessment. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and animal abuse is prominently displayed in the histories of people who are habitually violent;
Many convicted animal abusers in Canada have also been convicted of other crimes, including violence toward humans. Brian Whitlock of Vancouver, who was convicted on June 12, 2013, of animal cruelty for beating his dog, Captain, with a baseball bat, was sentenced to 60 days in jail, mandatory psychological counselling and three years' probation. Whitlock was subsequently convicted for killing his mother, 61 year old Barbara Whitlock; and
Our communities will be safer with early detection and intervention in cases of animal cruelty. Intervention should involve appropriate risk assessment tools, as well as treatment programs created specifically to target animal abuse. Such assessment tools and treatment programs already exist and should be incorporated into current intervention programs.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to require that everyone convicted of animal cruelty under the Criminal Code of Canada be required to undergo a mandatory risk assessment, and treatment developed specifically to target animal abuse.
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