Battered pets bark against domestic violence

An dog up for adoption at the Lee County Animal Shelter. / Jessica Fairley

An Albany man has been indicted for allegedly killing his wife's dog during a domestic fight and those against domestic violence say these cases aren't as rare as people may think.

A recent survey reveals that in 2012, 128 people in Georgia lost their lives to domestic violence but officials say humans aren't the only victims to die at the hands of an abuser.

"That's what batterers do, they threaten harm to children, pets or anything that's precious to that person," said Silke Deeley , Liberty House Director.

Officials say there's a strong correlation between abused pets and the safety of their owners.

"Nationwide, 71 percent of victims of domestic violence have had their pets be threatened or even hurt or killed," said Dr. Maya Gupta, with the Ahimsa House.

Jerome Carter has been indicted on charges of aggravated cruelty to an animal after allegedly killing his wife's dog by throwing it against a wall.

"People who kill and abuse their animals are certainly willing to kill and abuse the people that live in their household," said Deeley.

Organizations like the Atlanta-based Ahimsa House are set up to take in animals of domestic violence once the owner decides to seek shelter. They provide shelter, food, and veterinary services until the owners are able to care for the pet.

Silke Deeley with the Liberty House says as victims come to her; often times their pets have nowhere to go. This is when she has to reach out to agencies like the Ahimsa House to find a temporary home.

"I've had dogs in my office as a matter of fact when somebody's come into the shelter. We don't want there to be any barriers for women leaving or anyone leaving a relationship that is abusive," said Deeley.

Advocates against domestic violence are calling for a bonding between the Humane Society and battered women's shelters because sometimes an injured animal can point to an injured owner or vice versa.

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