I Spoke at Quinnipiac Law Seminar

October 16, 2015

I was asked to speak at the Connecticut Bar Association's seminar, "The Violence Gateway: From Animal Abuse to Domestic Abuse and Beyond." The seminar, hosted by the Quinnipiac University School of Law, addressed the question of the linkage between violence against animals and violence against humans and the role that enforcement of animal cruelty laws can play in reducing incidents of violence.

It was so gratifying to see the interest and concern for the link between animal cruelty and child abuse and domestic violence. I have worked hard to raise awareness.

Connecticut is leading the nation on exploring the relationship between animal abuse and domestic abuse. Research shows that abusing animals is a strong predictor for future violent behavior. I am very proud of the steps Connecticut has taken to explore the relationship between violence against animals and violence against people and believe it is vitally important to family safety that we continue to explore this link.

Exploring the Link Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

  • Cross-Reporting Law:
    • In 2014, I spearheaded the passage of the "cross-reporting bill."
    • Law requires that the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DOAG) share information related to animal cruelty and investigations of child abuse.
    • Law helps better protect children from violence while at the same time raises awareness of animal cruelty.
    • Only law of its kind on the country.
  • Bill to Increase Prosecution Rates:
    • I have advocated for increasing prosecution rates among suspected animal abusers.
    • Animal abuse cases are handled very differently than human abuse cases in court, with very few even being heard.
    • Most recent school shooters in the last 10 years were found to have abused animals before moving to harming humans.
    • Solution: Allow law students to serve as animal advocates in court for animals in custody or abuse cases.
    • Animals benefit because they are given an advocate, and the law students benefit because they are given real-life court experience.