Link Between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse?

Ciara Smyth

On November 26th, 2011, Chicago police officers responded to a call and found little Christopher Valdez dead had been beaten to death in his home, as his family prepared to celebrate his fourth birthday.  The boy was found to have died from multiple blunt force trauma and his death was ruled a child abuse homicide Saturday.  Police were alerted to the house after he was discovered by his aunt and uncle, who had come to investigate after a neighbor told them that Christopher was sporting a black eye when he attended Thanksgiving at their home the previous day.  Police charged the mother’s live-in boyfriend, Cesar Ruiz, with first degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death, and for having a suspended driver’s license.   The mother of the toddler was originally charged with concealment of a homicidal death and with endangering the life of a child.  However, after it was revealed through police questioning that she observed Ruiz beating her son earlier in the week he was murdered, and had joined in by spanking the toddler herself, the charges against the mother were upgraded to include first-degree murder.  Steven Valdez, the boy’s great uncle, previously described Ruiz, as anti-social and violent.  He said that two weeks before the boy’s death, Ruiz beat a dog severely after it relieved itself in his home.

Family members want to know why Christopher was allowed to stay with his mother and Ruiz following her conviction in October for domestic battery after she admitted to punching Christopher in July “because she was angry” and to using make-up to cover his injuries.  She was sentenced to parenting classes, given a conditional discharge, and was not sentenced to jail. Following the incident, but prior to her conviction, the Department of Children and Family Services determined that that there was “no credible evidence” of abuse and allowed the boy to remain in the home. The toddler’s death this month has naturally raised a lot of discussion and commentators to ask questions on DCFS’s oversight in allowing the child to remain at home. Continue reading

The Resume of a Candidate: Dog Poisoning and Spouse Abuse

David Cassuto

I believe in second chances.  I believe that people can be rehabilitated.  I do not, however, believe that people who feed deer meat laced with antifreeze to dogs  should be elected to their local school boards, especially when they show very little remorse.  I feel the same way about wife-beaters.  Especially when they´re the same person.

Mike Grissom won a spot in the runoff for the Republican nomination for the Jefferson County, Alabama Board of Education.  He poisoned the dogs in 2000 because he was tired of stepping in poop and `just snapped.´  Two of the three dogs died horrible deaths while the third was critically injured.  Grissom claims he´s not an animal hater and cites as evidence the fact that he has a cat.  Continue reading

The Cruelty Pathology

David Cassuto

This article on the relationship between human-to-animal cruelty and human-to-human cruelty is worth reading particularly for what it does not do.  The author does not dwell just on how inter-species cruelty can be both trigger and symptom of intra-species cruelty, but also on the fact that violence against other beings — be they human or non — is often pathological.  The oft-overlooked takeaway there is that it´s the same pathology, regardless of the victim.  Continue reading

Animals are Family Too

Seth Victor

          This past week I attended the 2010 New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City. I had a very enjoyable time, and while I think part of holding the event in Atlantic City is to entice lawyers to come and make a holiday of it, I was there strictly to attend the seminars (and maybe have some fried oreos on the boardwalk). The lectures did not disappoint. My Thursday started at 8:00am. I know of no law school courses that are scheduled for 8:00am because no student, or law professor, wants to be thinking critically that early. When, however, you have an intriguing discussion awaiting you with some of the top names in animal law, you find ways to perk up. Thus I found myself in “Animal are Family Too,” sponsored by the NJ Animal Law Committee.    Continue reading

Friedman and Norman on Maryland DV Protective Orders

Bridget Crawford

Joshua L. Friedman (Attorney Advisor, U.S. Social Security Administration) and Gary C. Norman (Staff Attorney, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) have published their article, “Protecting the Family Pet: The New Face of Maryland Domestic Violence Protective Orders,” 40 U. Balt. L.F. 81 (2009).  Here is the abstract:

Domestic violence is on the rise, and pets are increasingly becoming the victims of marital disputes. There is a demonstrated link between acts and offenses of domestic violence and animal abuse. Domestic abusers often do not think twice about beating or otherwise harming pets that have bonded with the other spouse in order to control, coerce, intimidate, or cause emotional harm to that spouse. Continue reading

SALDF Conference at Lewis & Clark

The Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark
in collaboration with the
Animal Legal Defense Fund
and
The Lewis & Clark Law School Student Animal Legal Defense Fund

present…

Animal Law: The Links

The Animal Law Conference
at Lewis & Clark

October 16-18, 2009AnimalLawConference2009

Registration Open!

Please join us this fall at Animal Law: The Links, The Animal Law Conference at Lewis & Clark, hosted by the Center for Animal Law Studies and the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund at Lewis & Clark Law School!

This year’s conference will explore animal law and its link to other areas of the law and professional disciplines, philosophies, and social movements. Panel sessions will include topics such as the link between animal law and: domestic violence; climate change; international trade; religion; the media; and social justice movements.  In addition to panels on animal law and the link, the conference will also highlight hot topics in animal law, cutting-edge legislation, criminal law, a Holocaust survivor’s moving perspective on animal issues. . . and much more!

We are thrilled to welcome Nicholas D. Kristof, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author and New York Times columnist, as our Saturday evening Keynote Speaker. Mr. Kristof will be joining us for a special book signing of his latest book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (copies of the book will be available for purchase through registration and at the conference).  We are also excited to announce that Jonathan Lovvorn, Vice President & Chief Counsel for Animal Protection Litigation & Research at the Humane Society of the United States, will be delivering the Keynote Address at our Friday evening opening reception at the Oregon Historical Society located in downtown Portland.

Continue reading