Companion Animals & Domestic Violence

The maltreatment of animals, usually companion animals, may occur in homes where there is domestic violence, yet there is limited information about the prevalence of such maltreatment. Victims of domestic violence report that animal abuse incidents coincided with acts of violence against family members over 50% of the time, according to Carlisle-Frank & Flanagan, 2006. Various forms of animal abuse occur and have included punching, hitting, choking, drowning, shooting, stabbing and throwing against walls or down stairs.

An act of violence against a family pet or, even threatening an act of violence, is a form of domestic violence and is a violation of Colorado’s criminal code. While the criminal code expressly includes protection of an animal when threats of violence or violent acts toward the animal are used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge, the civil statute is a bit different. The definition of civil protection order can include any provision to protect the victim from imminent danger to life or health.

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