Showing posts with label domestic violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label domestic violence. Show all posts

Thursday 18 May 2023

Classic case of domestic violence combined with animal violence (kitten)

NEWS AND COMMENT-HOLLYWOOD: This is the latest story in which domestic and animal violence merge and become one. We know - everyone knows - that there is a strong linkage between domestic and animal violence. By "domestic violence" I'm referring to human partners engaged in violence against each other normally the male against the female.

Aghajanian (left) and Johnson
Aghajanian (left) and Johnson. Photo by Nancy Vienneau for The Tennessean.

In this instance, a top Los Angeles chef has been accused by her estranged wife of torturing and killing their two pet cats, one of them a kitten, as she filed for divorce and requested a restraining order over the abuse that he meted out.

FBI Realise the Important Connection Between Animal Abuse and Other Serious Crimes 

I'm concerned about the violence against the cats obviously. Elizabeth Johnson has filed for a domestic violence restraining order against her estranged husband Will Aghajanian. The story has been reported in The Los Angeles Times and The Daily Mail.

Elizabeth Johnson alleges that Aghajanian joked about feeding their kitten to coyotes. She also says that she witnessed Aghajanian shaking their kitten which caused his or her death the next day.

Aghajanian put the dead kitten into the trash can and insisted on keeping it there in the house according to the wife. Comment: to cause her more emotional harm allegedly.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) dramatically under-reporting animal cruelty

As to the domestic violence aspects of the story she says that Aghajanian mentally and psychologically abused her. This, she says, kept her from realising what was going on with the animals in the house.

Aghajanian denies it and says that they are "false allegations". He claims that he is the victim and that his estranged wife repeatedly threatened to kill him and actually burned him at least twice with a metal spatula and a spoon which she had placed in a fryer according to the court filings and as reported by Mail Online.

Their restaurant Horses opened in September 2021 and immediately received rave reviews and was an instant celebrity favourite.

Comment: I can think of one outstanding comment namely this. Aghajanian wanted to harm his estranged wife the best way he could because of the animosity between them without physically hitting her. 

He knew that she was connected emotionally to the kitten. I would allege that he decided to harm the kitten to harm her. Perhaps he didn't want to kill the kitten but he shook the kitten so hard that it did kill him or her. It's a simple formula. We see this all the time. 

It is invariably the man who harms or kills cats and kittens to get at their female partner because it is invariably the case that the female partner adopts the kitten or cat and is more connected to the companion animal than the man. 

Like I said, it's an old tried and tested scenario which happens all over the world all the time and occasionally is exposed in court filings and in criminal prosecutions.

Friday 3 December 2021

In domestic violence households, gifted animals are abused 94% of the time

In research carried out by Dr. Mary Wakeham, formerly of Bristol University, on the link between domestic violence and animal abuse, they found that in 94% of domestic violence households were an animal was given as a gift the animals were then abused and in some cases killed by the perpetrator of the domestic violence. I find the percentage astonishing but I don't find the link surprising. We know that pets are used as tools by the perpetrators of domestic violence to control and coerce their victims.

In domestic violence households gifted animals are abused 94% of the time
In domestic violence households gifted animals are abused 94% of the time. Image: MikeB

This research is another added piece of information which confirms sadly what we already know and understand: the link between animal abuse and domestic violence. Companion animals are ideally placed for the perpetrators of domestic violence to psychologically attack their victims. They are innocent and vulnerable and emotionally connected to the victims of domestic violence.

The research was carried out by Dogs Trust and Cats Protection (believed). It also found that 97% of people working in the domestic abuse sector said that companion animals were often used as a way to control victims of domestic violence.

The researchers also concluded that in households where there is domestic violence (domestic abuse) 88% of the time animals were also abused by the perpetrator. And in more than 10% of these homes, animals were killed by perpetrators to emotionally harm their victims and to punish and frighten them. I suspect that these pet killings are often unreported and undealt with by the police because of further coercion.

The information is published ahead of a campaign to tackle domestic violence called 16 Days of Action against Domestic Violence. It started on November 25. It is therefore still running at the time of this post.

Freedom Project Manager at Dogs Trust, Amy Hyde, said that their organisation has heard of the perpetrators of domestic abuse not allowing victims to walk their dogs alone. They stop them from accessing veterinary care for the dogs or being able to spend money on dog food. These are not direct acts violence against the animals concerned but another way of using pets to control and coerce their victims who are dog lovers. If you love a dog and have a strong bond with a dog, the nasty people who perpetrate domestic violence user that information to their advantage. Cats are also involved of course.

It's a shocking indictment of the dysfunctionality of humankind in some settings and in some places by some people.

The study

The research study is titled Animal Abuse As a Strategy of Coercive Control. It was conducted by Dr. Mary Wakeham a former PhD Student at the University of Bristol. I could not find the study online. Perhaps it is yet to be published. It concerned a national survey of 107 respondents who were all victim-survivors of domestic abuse in the UK. They all lived with companion animals. In-depth interviews were conducted with 24 of them together with 10 professionals. Animal abuse occurred in 94 of the 107 i.e. 88% of the households. All 24 interviewed participants talked about how the perpetrator abused their companion animal.

The Dogs Trust website say that in 13 of the 107 homes the animals were killed. This is 12% of the cases.

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Domestic dispute: man allegedly threatened to drown woman's cat

BELLINGHAM USA-NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a classic case of the vulnerable domestic cat becoming a victim at the centre of a domestic dispute. It is annoyingly common for men to either threaten to abuse or abuse a woman's cat companion in domestic disputes as leverage to get her to do something or to emotionally hurt her.

Image: MikeB - free to use.

In this instance, the Bellingham Police Department booked a guy called Kapier Akana Robinson, 27, who was extremely angry (as is always the case) on suspicion of first-degree animal cruelty (domestic violence), harassment (domestic violence) and third-degree malicious mischief (domestic violence). Quite a catalogue of alleged crimes.

It is alleged that during an argument with his presumed girlfriend, Robinson threatened to drown her cat. He held the cat in the bath with the water running. The cat managed to get away which is unsurprising to me because when cats are under those sorts of situations they find a way to escape as they are so athletic and strong.

The woman, "the victim", took her cat and escaped the property. The police officers spoke to the woman who reported the threat against her cat. Allegedly, Robinson had also threatened in text messages to kill her cat in other ways and to hurt the victim.

After the incident, the woman returned to her apartment and found that the bathroom door was broken off its hinges and the doorknob had penetrated the wall. This accounted for the loud bang that she heard when she fled the apartment.

The police officers obtained Robinson's cooperation by threatening to taser him. Until then he was uncooperative. He was placed under arrest at that time.

It is mean and nasty for men to leverage their argument against women with threats of harm against womens' cats. It is cowardly. Perhaps sometimes the man thinks that their girlfriend prefers her cat to them which drives them crazy. Or the man believes that the cat gets in the way of their relationship.

To a lot of women, cats are better friends than boyfriends!

Source: The Bellingham Herald. My thanks.

Sunday 30 March 2014

Domestic Violence Shelters That Take In Companion Animals

There is a need for domestic violence shelters, usually for women, that allow the woman to bring with her, her cat or dog companion. It would seem that a frequently encountered problem for a woman fleeing domestic violence at home is leaving her cat companion behind because the domestic violence shelter that she is going to for sanctuary does not accept companion animals.

Copyright protected. Please do not copy.

In Britain, there are an estimated 570,000 telephone calls to the police each year from women and occasionally men who are suffering domestic violence. You could probably more than double that figure to well over 1 million because according to the British Crime Survey only 40.2% of actual domestic violence crime is reported to the police.

I'm sure the position is very similar in North America and indeed other countries were it may be worse, particularly those countries where the woman is subservient to the man for various reasons including religious reasons.

Let's say therefore, in the round, that there's lots of domestic violence and most of it is directed at women. Women often look after domestic cats. You can see the dilemma. In New York, USA  at one time there were 50 domestic violence shelters but none would accept a pet.

Now, there are a growing number of pet friendly shelters in various sorts of buildings. There were 4 in 2008 and in 2014 there are 73 such shelters.

One of the shelters is run by the Urban Resource Institute. The shelter that they manage also provides veterinary and other help. This is all very welcome. I do not know whether Great Britain has similar facilities that are easy to locate. Cats Protection provide a specialist service.

Abused Persian cat
It is well-known that domestic violence against the partner often entails violence against the family's companion animal. Sometimes the person who is perpetrating the violence targets the companion animal as a means of emotionally hurting his partner.

Apparently, in the USA, studies have found that about 70% of domestic violence survivors say that the perpetrators of domestic violence also threatened, killed or injured their pets. It is worth noting, also, that the person who suffered the violence delayed getting out of the home because they were worried about what would happen to their pet.

Citing one example, Pamela Isaac says that her boyfriend who was a drug user in the late 1990s not only beat her but used to dangle her cat out of the window to force her into obeying him. This particular relationship ended up with the man setting fire to their apartment with her cat inside. On this occasion the cat was not saved and died.

Probably, the most important “possession" of a woman escaping domestic violence would be her cat. I hope so anyway and therefore it would seem essential that there is somewhere where they can both go to simultaneously.

There would appear to still be a need for more pet friendly domestic violence shelters across United States and I would feel very confident in saying that there is probably a similar need in the UK.


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