SAFE PEOPLE, SAFE PETS
Our primary goal is to protect victims of violence. The Safe People, Safe Pets Program is an educational program designed to teach people about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence. We have established a working relationship with community and base agencies to provide cross reporting between human and animal service organizations. There are now safe houses for pets of domestic violence victims. We also have a violence prevention program for elementary school children. We are working toward preventing future violence through early intervention and accessibility of services to everyone who needs them. We would like to encourage everyone involved in violence prevention efforts to work together to share information and cross report. Animal cruelty should be taken seriously! Research shows there is a connection between animal cruelty and human violence. Animal cruelty is often present when family violence is occurring. There is also evidence that animal cruelty precedes many cases of teen violence in schools. Research shows that people who are cruel to animals are more likely to become aggressive or violent toward people. Animal cruelty is one link in the chain of human violence.
WHAT IS ANIMAL CRUELTY?
Animal cruelty is any behavior that is harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. Some cruelty is unintentional and can be resolved through education. Intentional cruelty or abuse is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, socialization, or veterinary care or physically abusing, torturing, maiming, mutilating, or killing an animal. This type of cruelty is a particular concern because it is a sign of psychological distress and indicates that an individual needs professional help.
WHO DOES IT AFFECT?
EVERYONE! The connection between spouse, child and animal abuse is very real! What is happening to the animal is quite possibly happening to the human victims within that family. Animals are, many times, the first victims of violence. Batterers often use pets to control their partners and children. They may threaten to kill a pet to secure a child’s compliance or silence when abuse is occurring. Threats of harming or killing a pet can keep a partner in the relationship. And…more and more cases of teen violence in schools include reports of animal cruelty. Teens that hurt or kill animals may be thinking about harming themselves or their classmates. Reporting animal cruelty can help the animal victims and also the person abusing the animals. Early intervention helps prevent future violence. Take animal abuse seriously! Report suspected animal abuse to the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), 243-1525, Security Forces, 884-7777 or your local law enforcement agency. The goal is to increase community wellness by providing a nonviolent, safe home and school environment for people and animals. PAWS’ animal control officers and Security Forces’ personnel can evaluate the situation and report to the appropriate agencies. Early intervention can help protect victims of violence. Every living being has the right to live in a violence free environment.
EVERYONE LOVES ANIMALS, RIGHT?
Animals are really cool and most people know that treating animals and people with kindness and respect is the right thing to do. But sometimes people hurt animals on purpose and that is animal abuse. Just like hurting another person is wrong, hurting animals is wrong also. This pamphlet will give you some tips on helping animals and people too!
ANIMAL ABUSE IS SERIOUS!
Animal abuse hurts everyone! Many times animals are the first targets of violence and sometimes, people who hurt animals hurt other people. If you see someone hurting an animal or hear someone talking about hurting an animal, tell an adult that you trust! When you share what you know you may help stop animal abuse or even school violence!
WHAT IS ANIMAL ABUSE?
Animal abuse is anything that a person does on purpose that is harmful to animals. Animal abuse can be hitting, kicking, or throwing an animal. Sometimes people are cruel to animals by neglecting them. They might not give them food, water or a home to live in. In severe abuse cases an animal may be killed. Animal abuse is a crime in all fifty states.
WHO DOES ANIMAL ABUSE AFFECT?
EVERYONE! Animals, adults & kids. Research has shown that some high school students involved in school shootings had abused animals before they killed their classmates. People who are cruel to animals need help. Because we don’t know what they may be experiencing in their lives it is important that they get help. Maybe they witnessed violence or are a victim of violence themselves.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SEE SOMEONE ABUSING ANIMALS?
Seeing someone hurt an animal can be scary. It is VERY IMPORTANT to keep yourself safe. The first thing you should do is get help from an adult. NEVER try to handle something as serious as animal abuse alone! Ask for help from your parents, teachers, school counselors, church minister, youth leader or any other adult you trust. If you can’t find an adult to help you contact your local animal control department. For Okaloosa County call PAWS at 243-1525. If you live in Santa Rosa County call 936-6177. Or you can call your local police department. Give as much information as you can to help the investigators. Try to remember where the animal was, what the person looked like and what the person was doing to the animal. If you are afraid to give your name, ask if you can make an anonymous complaint. Animal abuse is serious! If you hear someone talking about hurting animals or people, please report it to someone. Don’t let anyone tell you animal abuse isn’t serious, IT IS! Remember…keep yourself safe!
HOW CAN I HELP PREVENT ANIMAL ABUSE?
There is a lot you can do! Here are a few suggestions:
Set an example for your friends and younger kids by being kind to animals and letting others know that hurting animals is NOT OK!
Write animal articles for your school newspaper or start a club to educate other students about animal abuse.
Volunteer at your local humane society. Always speak up for animals even if people make fun of you!
Remember the Safe People, Safe Pets motto: “It’s Cool To Be Kind and Never Cool To Be Cruel”.
You can make a difference for animals and people too!
Learn How to Safely Deter Feral/Neighborhood Cats, HERE.
Important Phone Numbers:
In Emergencies Always Use 911!
Hurlburt Family Advocacy Program…….881-5061
Eglin Family Advocacy Program………..882-8617
Hurlburt Security Forces…………………. 884-7777
Eglin Security Forces…………………….. 882-2502
Okaloosa Sheriff’s Dept………………….. 651-7400
Ft. Walton Police Dept…………………… 833-9546
Shelter House (FWB)…………………….. 863-4777
Favor House (Pensacola)………………… 434-6600
National Domestic Violence Hotline……1-800-799-7233
(SAFE) Florida Child Abuse Hotline………1-800-962-2873