Letter: Jessica Whitt

Editor: What is animal abuse? Animal abuse is when someone hurts an animal or does not care for an animal responsibly, like not giving your pet food and water. The most common form of dog abuse is either abuse or neglect. There are more than 6,000 cases of dog abuse that occur every year in the U.S. What is domestic violence? Domestic violence is violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner. But did you ever think that the two could be linked?

Domestic violence and child abusers may kill, harm or threaten animals to exert dominance and power over their victims and to show them what could happen to them. In addition to causing pain and suffering to the animals, animal abuse can

be an indicator and predictor—one of the earliest “red flag” warning signs of concurrent or future violent acts. Animal cruelty is one of the earliest and most dramatic indicators that an individual is developing a pattern of seeking power and

control through abuse of others. When animals in a home are abused or neglected, it is a warning sign that others in the household may be in danger.

In Loudoun County, we have SAVE—Stop Abuse & Violence Effort. The purpose of Loudoun County Animal Services’ SAVE program is to facilitate the community’s recognition and understanding of the dynamic connection between animal abuse and the cycle of family and societal violence.

“Loudoun County Animal Services’ goal is to combat violence in the home through a multi-discipline approach to ensuring the safety of humans and animals alike by focusing on the important role animals play, not only as victims but also therapeutic mediums teaching empathy and providing familial stability,” as found on Loudoun.gov.

We need more people, and organizations in Loudoun County to help stop animal abuse and domestic violence. If you see a neighbor or a friend abusing their animal you should tell someone. You really never know what goes on in someone’s home life. But it’s always good to look out for red flags. Groups that help support victims of domestic violence are also a really good way to give help to people who are struggling or struggled with these troubles. Adopting an animal that has been abused is also a good way to help out. Just giving a few dollars to local charities will help victims of domestic violence and animal abuse. Many people ‘struggle with this in their home lives. We may not have the power to change the whole world, but we can change the beautiful county we live in. Loudoun County.

We have the power to make Loudoun County a better, safer county. And we will. One home at a time.

Jessica Whitt, Harmony Middle School

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