Several studies have shown the link (pdf) between violence toward animals and violence toward people, especially when children are involved, yet few laws recognize the connection.
New Jersey lawmakers are considering a groundbreaking law that would make it illegal to commit animal cruelty in the presence of a child. The bill on the table (A3555/S1161) would make it a crime to abuse or abandon an animal or engage in dogfighting or other animal fighting-related activities in front of anyone under 18 — whether the perpetrator knew they were underage or not. So, whatever crime was committed against animals, the charges would be enhanced if a minor was around.
This law could set a precedent for protecting both children and animals and could help break the cycle of abuse. Urge New Jersey lawmakers to support this legislation.
Photo credit: Leszek.Leszczynski
The link between animal abuse and other forms of violence is well established (http://www.americanhumane.org/assets/docs/human-animal-bond/HAB-LINK-facts-about-the-link.pdf). Children are particularly vulnerable when exposed to violence and prone to modeling cruelty toward animals. The FBI has identified animal cruelty committed by children as one of the indicators of increasingly violent behavior. This legislation in New Jersey can help break that cycle.
I urge you to support legislation that makes it a crime to commit animal cruelty in the presence of children.