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As Dr. Albert Schweitzer once said, "It is a man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man. Until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." Indeed.
What to do if you witness abuse or neglect
In all cases, if you witness any situation that is life-threatening to another being (human or nonhuman animal), you should call 911.
Be careful of directly intervening in any violent situation-remember that humans who are capable of inflicting injury on any creature are capable of inflicting injury on you.
o Abuse or neglect against an animal. There are two full-time humane investigators in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, and you may phone in your report to the investigator nearest you (Minneapolis: 763-489-2235; St. Paul: 651-645-7387).
The Minnesota Federated Humane Society also accepts reports of animal cruelty; your report will be assigned to one of the approximately 100 humane investigators throughout the state. You may contact the Minnesota Federated Humane Society at 877-826-4625.
o Abuse or neglect against a child. Phone 911 to report any activity that endangers the health or well-being of a child. If you suspect that a child may be in danger but have not directly witnessed abuse or neglect, any concerned citizen in the state of Minnesota may call their county's Child Protective Services unit to file a report.
o Abuse or neglect against an adult. Phone 911 to report activity that endangers the health or well-being of any adult. If you suspect that an adult may be a victim of family violence or neglect, encourage (but don't pressure) them to find support from a professional. There are numerous resources to help people who find themselves at risk of violence (see numbers, below).
o If you are in an unsafe relationship, you are not alone. Call Day One, a statewide system with information on family violence resources, at 1-866-223-1111. For statewide referrals to other human services programs, call the United Way's 2-1-1 program at 1-800-543-7709.
To learn more about the links between animal abuse/neglect and family violence
o The University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine is co- sponsoring, with the American Humane Association and Partners for Violence Prevention, a one-day conference on March 29 highlighting the links between animal and family violence and discussing a coordinated community response to violence. For more information, contact Jeannine Moga at 612-624-9372 or see www.cvm.umn.edu/outreach/events/bridge.html.
o The American Humane Association, founded in 1877 to protect children and animals from neglect, cruelty, and abuse, has a wealth of information on preventing violence on its website (www.americanhumane.org).
o The Humane Society of the United States' "First Strike" campaign, created in 1997 to raise awareness about the links between cruelty to animals and human violence, makes numerous educational materials available to policymakers, professionals, and community members (www.hsus.org/firststrike).
1 Arkow, P. (1992). The correlations between cruelty to animals and child abuse and the implications for veterinary medicine. Canadian Veterinary Journal, 33: 518-521. 2 Lagoni, L., Butler, C. & Hetts, S. (1994). The Human-Animal Bond and Grief. Philadelphia: W.B Saunders. 3 Humane Society of the United States (2003). Report of Animal Cruelty Cases, 2003. New York. 4 Lockwood, R. & Ascione, F. (1998). Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence: Reading in Research and Application. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press. 5 Friedrich, W., Urquiza, A., & Beilke, R. (1986). Behaviour problems in sexually abused young children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 11: 47-57 6 Flynn, C (2000). Woman's best friend: Pet abuse and the role of companion animals in the lives of battered women. Violence Against Women, 6(2): 162-177. 7 Ascione, F. (1998). Battered women's reports of their partners' and their children's cruelty to animals. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 1(1): 199-133.