The link between animal and human violence is well established: People who neglect and abuse nonhuman animals are much more likely to go on to abuse humans. Animal welfare advocates and law enforcement alike are painfully aware of how violence can escalate and perpetuate itself without formal intervention.
Despite this known public safety risk, many states have few measures in place to break this cycle.
California State Senator Scott Wilk has a proposal: The Animal Welfare and Violence Intervention Act of 2018. While the state of California mandates counseling for people offered parole in certain animal cruelty cases, his bill would formalize counseling for people convicted of such crimes. It would require offenders to receive training in "responsible animal ownership," and in the case of specific offenses, they would need to be screened for mental health conditions and provided with counseling, if needed.
The goal of this legislation is to break the cycles of violence that can trap people and animals alike, sometimes in escalating patterns. We want to see both houses of California's legislature bring this bill forward for a vote and pass it, making California safer for people and animals alike.
And we'd like to see other states follow in California's lead.
Protect animals and vulnerable humans by passing legislation that will get people the help they need before their violence has an opportunity to escalate!
Photo credit: Torrey Wiley