Are you able to determine if violence against animals is on the rise?
No. We cannot determine that. We can therefore try to get information on a local basis.
But it's unclear if the actual incidences are on the rise, or the police response is on the rise, or the reportage of [violence is on the rise]. We recently trained the New York City Police Department, and [the ASPCA is] seeing more animal cruelty cases come to us, but it will take us a while to see what the trends are. But your question is the question I get asked the most, and the awareness of it on all levels by the public, law enforcement and the legal system shows the greater appreciation of the link between violence against people and animals.
What are the demographics of the violence link?
In regards to intimate partner violence, if you look at serious abuse, such as beatings, stabbings or shootings, men are more prominently represented. These men are usually younger to middle-aged men.
If an animal has been bludgeoned on the street, it is probably [committed by] one or two male offenders. If an animal has been poisoned, that might be [a] different [case].
The flip side is one of the forms of animal cruelty that produces suffering and death: animal hoarding. Animal hoarding is more common among women and particularly older women. Now, although they aren't abusing the animals, they are slowly starving or neglecting sometimes hundreds of animals.
But there are no absolutes: We have couples who are hoarders. We see young women involved in intentional violent acts, and although it isn't common, they do happen.
Altogether, though, in 95 percent of the cases of intentional abuse, we are looking for young male offenders.