Southeast Texas LINK Coalition addresses overlap between domestic violence, animal cruelty

In response to the rise in domestic and animal violence cases, local agencies are partnering to form the Southeast Texas Link Coalition to combat the abuse.
In response to the rise in domestic and animal violence cases, local agencies are partnering to form the Southeast Texas Link Coalition to combat the abuse.

HOUSTON – In response to the rise in domestic and animal violence cases, local agencies are partnering to form the Southeast Texas Link Coalition to combat the abuse.

The Southeast Texas LINK Coalition aims to bring together agencies from across Southeast Texas to build a cohesive network that combats both animal violence and human violence.

Agencies in the coalition include the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, the Fort Bend County Juvenile Probation Department, the Fort Bend County Women’s Center, the Houston Humane Society and the Children’s Assessment Center.

The coalition says evidence demonstrates strong links between animal cruelty and other crimes, including interpersonal, family and community violence. The areas where animal cruelty, child maltreatment, domestic violence and elder abuse intersect is called “The Link.”

“I have seen hundreds of animal cruelty cases come through our clinic that are accompanied by confirmed cases of interpersonal violence,” said Dr. Malone of the Houston Humane Society.

“Research has shown that animal abuse very often leads to more serious crimes, and children who abuse animals frequently become aggressive with other children and adults later in life. In the same way, individuals who are able to hurt or neglect a family pet are likely also comfortable doing the same to their human family members, which is why we see so much overlap between animal abuse and domestic violence,” Houston Humane Society Executive Director Gary Poon said.

“Mistreating animals is no longer considered as an isolated incident that can be ignored. It is often an indicator or predictor crime and a red flag warning sign that other family members in the household may not be safe,” said Katie Fine of the Houston Humane Society.

Members of the coalition said evidence shows if someone is willing to hurt their pet, they’re likely comfortable abusing a family member.

“By launching the southeast Texas Link coalition we hope to prevent, combat, and educate the public on the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty,” said Dr. Malone.

A representative of the coalition said since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been an increase in domestic violence cases. Animal abuse cases are expected to go up as well.

For more information, go to https://setxlinkcoalition.org/.