Link between animal abuse and partner violence part of B.C. police course

Two pugs are shown in an image from Shutterstock.com. (By user kremacnipec)

New training for police officers in B.C. is helping to bridge the gap between intimate partner violence (IPV) and the impact it can have on animals.

According to a news release on Monday from the B.C. SPCA, the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General has launched an online course that’s meant to help officers identify the risks of domestic violence, such as the perpetrators’ behaviour towards animals.

“The link between animal abuse and domestic violence has been well documented,” Louise Lathey of the B.C. SPCA’s prevention and enforcement department said in the press release.

In addition to the training course, animal abuse factors will also be added as a risk identification tool for officers to use when conducting an investigation of a domestic violence call.

“It’s important for us to look at situations holistically and you can’t address animal issues without looking at the whole picture of how humans interact with animals,” Lathey said.

The SPCA also provides free emergency pet boarding for those fleeing from unsafe home environments and is in the process of developing an expanded foster network to care for pets of those who are seeking to leave a violent relationship.

“Responding to IPV is a shared responsibility across the province, public health, and social and community sectors, and it’s important that we work together to ensure survivors receive the care they deserve,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, in the press release.