Animal cruelty, domestic violence closely intertwined

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — In the month of October thus far, Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control have placed over 60 animal cruelty-related charges against people in Fayette County.

That number surpassed previous records.

Of the cases investigated just this year in six of those cases, LFACC found the animals were intentionally harmed or ultimately killed and in three of those cases, domestic violence was involved.

“Last year, we had 59 charges for all of Fayette County, which is a lot. But this year already in October, today’s date, we have 66 charges for animal cruelty,” said cruelty investigator Jai Hamilton.

Some say there is a strong link between domestic violence and animal cruelty.

“Animals are often used to control and manipulate victims of domestic violence,” adds Hamilton.

Joye Keeley used to work for the Louisville Metro Police Department but is now retired.

“When an animal is abused, it could be a huge red flag that somebody else in that household is being abused. Once an animal is abused, it really victimizes the domestic violence victim, and why don’t we, why does anybody want that? We want them to be safe. We want the things that they care about their children, their animals to be safe as well, so they can get to a better position in their life, both physically and emotionally,” added Keeley.

The bluegrass ranks among the worst states in animal protection laws.

“It is exceptionally hard to charge and prove beyond reasonable doubt our torture law, which is our felony law. Most animal cruelty is charged under a misdemeanor law,” adds Hamilton.

Those who vouch for harsher animal cruelty laws say that the best thing to do is to get educated but also if you see something to say something.

LFACC works closely with GreenHouse17 when it comes to the safety of animals.

“We are committed to nurturing lives harmed by intimate partner abuse – and this includes the lives of beloved pets. Hurting family pets is one of the many ways abusers maintain power and control. Too often, victims face the heartbreaking decision of leaving behind their pets to keep themselves and their children safe. Many victims stay with the abuser for fear their animals will be abused if they flee. Our collaborations with Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control, Lexington Humane Society, and a network of confidential pet fosters help to eliminate this barrier to safety and protect pets,” adds Darlene Thomas, executive director at GreenHouse17, in a statement sent to WTVQ.

GreenHouse17 has a 24-hour crisis hotline, 1-800-544-2022.

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