Threatening to hurt your partner’s cat is domestic abuse under Scottish law

Domestic abuse
Domestic abuse. The image is on a government informational website and taken to be in the public domain therefore.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Wonderful. Threatening to hurt your partner’s cat is domestic abuse under Scottish law. This is enlightened thinking.

A new law in Scotland, which came into effect on Monday 1st April 2019, makes a partner a domestic abuser if (s)he threatens to hurt the other partner’s pet. It treats that person as if he or she is involved in domestic abuse. This is because it is a form of coercive and abusive control and it is widespread.

Statistics show that 71% of abuse women in America reported that their pets were being harmed, killed or threatened as a way to control or intimidate them.

This sort of animal abuse and threats to abuse companion animals is now illegal in Scotland. To reiterate, if a person threatens to abuse their partner’s cat or dog or any other pet then that person will be treated as if he or she is threatening the partner him or herself.

The new legislation is called Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act. I think it’s a wonderful Act and I think the Scottish are being highly enlightened in introducing it. Detective Superintendent Gordon McCreadie states in a Twitter tweet that 91% of pet owners consider pets as companions and members of the family. It’s true.

He says that in most homes the woman is the pet’s caregiver. This implies that men are normally the abusers who exploit this emotional attachment to cats, dogs and other companion animals. In addition, pet abuse is a risk factor in the abuser becoming a domestic violence abuser against the person herself.

This new law defines coercive and abusive behaviour as being, “likely to cause the person to suffer physical or psychological harm.”

It’s a law which tackles behaviour in a relationship which makes a person subordinate to the other. It’s behaviour which isolates the victim from their support networks of friends and family. It’s a form of controlling activity. It is restricting the victim’s freedom and is a way to punish and humiliate them.

Feline Psychogenic Alopecia
Feline Psychogenic Alopecia – overgrooming due to stress.

There is a final, important point to make. The true victim, the victim who is often hurt the most and who has no voice, is the companion animal. Under the stressful conditions of a home full of strife the cat or dog is likely to feel stressed and depressed. Stress can cause serious health issues. We must not relegate companion animals to second rate citizens in domestic abuse matters. There are three equal parties in the abusive family and the primary victim is faultless while the humans are not. It is the responsibility of both human parties to do their best to not emotionally hurt the companion animal. This animal respect can be overlooked.

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