The New York Times reported earlier this week (here) on state legislation under consideration in three jurisdictions. The proposed laws would allow courts to prohibit animal abusers from having pets in the future. According to the NYT, 27 states now have similar laws.
Animal lawyers and law scholars long have acknowledged the connection between animal abuse and violence against women. For recent scholarship, see, e.g., Caroline Anne Forell, Using a Jury of Her Peers to Teach About the Connection between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse, 15 Animal L. Rev. 53 (2008). The NYT article leads with a statement claiming that proposed legislation is”[r]esponding to growing evidence that people who abuse animals often go on to attack humans.” But the article makes more of the cost to state and local governments of caring for abused animals that are rescued. The article cites $1.2 million in expenses by Franklin County, Ohio officials caring for 170 rescued dogs. A Michigan county paid $37,000 in clean-up costs when dead animals were found in a hoarders home.
This leaves one with the impression that the least vulnerable among us get legal protection only when its absence becomes too expensive for the state. A society or government that listens only when money talks does not adequately respond to those with the greatest needs.