Sometimes there can be a fine line between discipline and abuse, but not very often. Dogs might be man’s best friend, but they don’t have the same level of thought patterning as a human. Applying human characteristics of discipline onto a dog to cause it pain – that’s abuse, plain and simple.
Dogs are the most common victims of animal abuse, accounting for 64.5% of all documented cruelty cases that are media reported.
Dog Abuse Facts
It isn’t just a focus on dogs either. There’s a focus on specific breeds of dogs, mostly perpetrated out of fear for the dog. Pitbulls account for 1 out of every 4 dogs that is abused, which is a rate that has doubled in the past decade. Some of this data might be because more families are choosing to own this breed, but having communities ban the breed helps to condition an attitude of fear, which can lead to an attitude of abuse.
- About 1 million animals per year are abused because of domestic violence that occurs in the home where they live.
- 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge.
- The percentage of battered women who say that their children have abused or killed animals while at home: 32%
- In 2007, 7% of media-reported animal cruelty cases either occurred in the context of a domestic dispute or involved a person with a history of domestic violence.
- Before 1986, there were only 4 states that had laws against animal cruelty.
- Every year, breeds like greyhounds are killed simply because they can’t race any more or they aren’t competitive enough in their speed.
- There are up to 2,000 cases of animal hoarding per year reported in the United States, resulting in more than 250k abuse cases.
- More American households have pets than children.
The problem with abusing dogs is cyclical. Women who are abused by their domestic partner tend to seek out comfort from their dog when their stress levels are high. 98% of Americans consider a pet to be a direct companion. When domestic violence happens, the target becomes the dog for two reasons: 1) the abuser knows that they will be able to hurt the victim more by hurting their companion; and 2) most dogs aren’t going to fight back when they see someone they trust trying to hurt them. What is particularly disturbing in these facts, however, is the prevalence of children abusing animals. This shows that the patterns of domestic violence begin early in a third of domestic violence households and without intervention, more dogs and more people will simply be abused later on.
Why Are People Abusing Their Dogs?
- Every year, about 10k bulldogs die because they have been bred to fight for gambling or entertainment.
- The most common form of abuse for dogs is either abuse or neglect.
- More than half of the 12,000 cases of animal abuse account for Dog Abuse.
- Continuous chaining of a dog has become illegal in some US states because owners would never let their animals off the chain during their entire lives.
- 71% of the victims of domestic abuse state that their perpetrator targeted their animal
- A Canadian Police study found that 70% of people arrested for animal cruelty had past records of other violent crimes.
- Animal experimentation is not prohibited by law.
- Until the year 2000, any dogs that served in the military were euthanized once they were returned from the battlefield because of fears that the dogs would attack civilians.
The simple fact is that we as a society have set up the conditions for abusing dogs. At one point, it was believed that whipping animals was necessary to create meat that was tender or obedience. Sometimes these older practices still occur. The bottom line is this: when humans are afraid of something, we take it out on those that are helpless and won’t fight back most often. When this abuse occurs successfully, it then begins to breed a harshness and numbness to the pain of animals and this can eventually translate to a similar feeling about humans. This is why stopping dog cruelty now is so important.
Why Do Humans Abuse Their Best Friends?
- About half of all dogs who wind up in shelters end up being put down because they remain unclaimed.
- The most common reason why a dog is left at a shelter is because they are no longer wanted by the family for some reason.
- It is believed that 5,000 puppy mills exist in the United States for one reason: profits from those who want dogs.
- According to the FBI, cruelty to animals is a common trait of serial rapists and murderers.
- Leaving a dog outside on a hot day, or especially within the confines of a car, can cause brain damage to the animal in as little as 15 minutes.
- There are about 6,000 documented cases of dog abuse that occur every year.
- The most common form of training for a dog is intimidation.
- Dogfighting became prevalent in the US after the Civil War, with professional pits proliferating in the 1860s. And was a source of entertainment for police officers and firemen.
To be fair, many humans probably don’t intend to abuse their best friends. Many of them likely don’t even see it as abuse. Now skinning a dog to create a fur coat, as is sometimes done in India, is usually something that will make people flinch. Yelling at a dog because it just stands in the yard, looking at you because you’re telling it to “Come” and it won’t – that’s not often seen as abuse. The problem is that all abuse is harmful, whether intended or not. Words hurt. An angry tone of voice hurts. If dogs are being seen as “furry children” and they’re being treated this way, then imagine how real children would be treated? Until humanity gets over itself, the benefits that a dog can bring to someone will never be fully realized.