American Humane Association is the oldest national humane organization with divisions for protecting both children and animals from neglect, abuse, cruelty, and exploitation. Through the generous support of individuals, corporations, foundations, and member agencies, American Humane Association has been in the frontlines of advocacy and action for children and animals for more than 130 years.
Though we are perhaps best known for our work in protecting children and animals from abuse, neglect, and maltreatment, American Humane Association’s overarching concern is to build a more humane and caring society. In recent years, this concern has metamorphosed into a renewed practical and scholarly interest into The Link® between all forms of family violence: child abuse and neglect; animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect; elder abuse; and domestic violence. We are not singling out any one at-risk population; rather, our view is that, in a civilized society, no form of violence should be tolerated.
Because of our joint mission, expertise, and long historical tradition, American Humane Association has unique qualifications to address the relationships between cruelty to animals and other forms of societal violence. This principle has been espoused by philosophers for hundreds of years, and has been integral to the entire history of the humane movement. In 1894, at an American Humane Association convention, it was noted that “The man who was cruel to his beast would be unkind to his wife and child.”
Today, through our campaigns against violence, American Humane Association is a leader in researching the problem, raising public awareness, and most important, providing tools for decision makers, social service providers, animal care and control professionals, veterinarians, parents and concerned citizens to recognize problems and take appropriate steps to end abuse and protect its victims.
There is a growing public awareness of The Link® between domestic violence and animal abuse. Legislatures nationwide are considering bills that would include companion animals in protective orders, and several states have enacted such bills into law.
Each year, defenseless pets face the grim reality that they will be victims of domestic abuse. American Humane Association knows that individuals who abuse animals rarely stop there. Human victims -- adults and children alike -- often feel they have no choice but to remain in violent households in order to avoid harm to their pets.
For more information about protective orders, including the steps for obtaining one, download this document.