In June, the Michigan Humane Society and Crime Stoppers of Michigan announced a powerful and unique partnership that will result in a completely anonymous option for citizens to report animal cruelty. Now, animal cruelty calls received by Crime Stoppers will be directed to both the law enforcement authority in a particular jurisdiction and the Michigan Humane Society.
If you’re not familiar with Crime Stoppers of Michigan, this nonprofit organization is dedicated and committed to “working together to create stronger, safer communities.” Inherent in that core principle is the power of, and the need for, collaboration.
Why is our partnership important?
On the practical side, this partnership provides MHS a unique opportunity to both directly investigate animal cruelty and neglect in a larger geographic area, and provide critical counsel, assistance and resources to more local jurisdictions. You may not know this, but cruelty investigation and rescue is something we have been doing, and doing well, for more than a century. MHS responds to more than 8,000 complaints every year.
More importantly, teaming up with Crimes Stoppers is further evidence of an elevated understanding among law enforcement of the correlation between animal cruelty and human violence. Animal cruelty is more than simply an animal issue; it is a public safety and community issue.
We believe that animal welfare professionals and law enforcement have an obligation to respond to and address animal cruelty with the same level of professionalism and attention as any other form of violence.
As passionate protectors and guardians to the animals we share our lives with, the team at MHS embraces the notion that suffering of any kind is not acceptable.
Animal and human violence: the link
In theory, it’s not hard to understand that someone capable of inflicting pain and suffering on an animal is capable of doing the same to a person. History provides us with many examples of unspeakable criminal violence following early acts of cruel animal abuse.
And while we know of extreme cases, they are not unique. There is overwhelming evidence linking animal cruelty to serious conduct disorders, such as mass homicides, and more common crimes, such as domestic violence.
In family abuse situations, the family pet is often used as a weapon to control the victim. Threats and actual harm to the family pet often keep the victim from leaving or speaking up. A study by the American Humane Association in conjunction with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that 71 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims.
The study also found that between 25 and 40 percent of battered women don’t leave abusive situations because they worry about how their pets will fare without them.
You can learn more about the link between animal abusers and how they negatively impact community health at a variety of websites. Here are three excellent sites to visit: sheriffs.org/programs, animallaw.info/article, nationallinkcoalition.org. I invite you to spend time educating yourself, because somewhere, somehow, your knowledge may help you make a positive impact with someone struggling with the issues I mentioned above.
You can make a difference today
This brings me to the crux of our collaboration with Crime Stoppers of Michigan. To successfully further efforts to combat and address animal cruelty in our communities, we need YOU!
We are depending on people like you who are willing to speak up for those who have no voice, to report the cruelty and neglect they witness in their neighborhoods and bring justice to those who deserve it.
When MHS and Crime Stoppers team up, we help make reporting animal cruelty a simple and anonymous process. We begin to address a serious threat to public safety and, together, work toward ending suffering of any kind in our communities.
Ending animal cruelty may seem a lofty, unrealistic goal, but we have to start with the end in mind.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” — Henry Ford
– Matthew Pepper, President and CEO