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For years social science has demonstrated a link between animal abuse and human violence but the legal system has been slow to recognize this link. This article discusses the link among domestic violence, child abuse and animal abuse in the home and how one jurisdiction, the District of Columbia, is addressing this complex and integrated cycle of abuse as family abuse. The legal proposals include mandatory cross-reporting of abuse between child services and animal protection services, recognizing pet abuse with the intent of injuring a human family member as grounds for an intra-family abuse protective order, providing companion animal protection in protective orders, and creating safe havens for all abused family members, including the pet.

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GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 307; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 307

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