Charity joins police to save domestic abuse pets

Scared dog

​Abuse of animals key in identifying wider abuse 

15th April 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Police Scotland officers are partnering with a charity for training to deal with pets who could be targeted as a result of domestic abuse.

It comes in response to research which shows three out of four abuse victims who had a pet say their partners threatened or hurt it.

The Dogs Trust will assist the force and give refuge to pets when partners flee abusers.

New domestic abuse laws which make psychological abuse a crime means 14,000 are getting extra training to identify factors involved in domestic abuse with violence towards animals is a key indicator.

Amy Hyde, outreach manager for the Dogs Trust Freedom Project, said: “We’ve seen horrific injuries to animals caught up in domestic abuse situations, dogs who have been stabbed, thrown down flights of stairs or burned with cigarettes.

“The pet becomes a target because it’s a way an abuser can control their partner. It’s deeply upsetting for everyone caught up in that situation. We now work to ensure victims and their families can have somewhere to care for their dog while they flee for their own safety.”

Mark McLeod, from Dundee, had given Kara the West Highland terrier, named Hobo, as a present after beating her. But he soon used the dog in an attempt to stop her leaving.

Now that she is safe from McLeod’s violence, Ewen lives with the guilt of not knowing if Hobo is alive or dead.

She said: “He knew how much I loved animals, so Hobo was the perfect gift, something he could use as a weapon to keep me in line.”

Detective Superintendent Gordon McCreadie, head of the Police Scotland’s domestic abuse task force, said: “A mother may want to flee an abusive relationship, but the worry about what will happen to a beloved family pet if it’s left behind can make them stay. Abusers like McLeod make full use of this.”