Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, May 12, 2006

Case Law Development: Evidence of Animal Abuse Relevant to Child Abuse

Researchers have increasingly noted the relationship between animal abuse and violence toward family members.  The California Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, affirmed a trial court's refusal to sever the trials of animal abuse and child sexual abuse claims, noting several proper inferences that could be drawn from one case to the other.  These inferences included that the victim's observation of defendant's abuse of his dogs could provide evidence of the reluctance of the child victim to reveal the abuse and that the allegations of killing and maiming the dogs were strengthened by evidence that the incident followed the child's removal from defendant by a custodian to whom defendant feared the child might reveal the abuse.

People v. Lowell, 2006 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3863 (May 3, 2006) bgf

To read more about it:

For a recent student note on the subject, see Angela Campbell, The Admissibility of Evidence of Animal Abuse in Criminal Trials for Child and Domestic Abuse, 43 B.C. L. Rev 463 (2002).

See also Family Law Prof Post of April 26, 2006 on including protection of pets in domestic violence restraining orders.

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