Conference on ‘the link’ between animal abuse, human violence comes to Albuquerque

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New research is exploring the connection between animal abuse and human violence and those findings are coming here to New Mexico. A conference exploring ‘the link’ wraps up today.

For two days, local non-profit Positive Links is bringing everyone from police officers to social workers together, exploring ‘the link’ and how they can make a difference. The Positive Links president, Tammy Fiebelkorn, says animal abuse is likely a sign a person is also being abused.

“We bring together social workers, police officers, animal control officers, attorneys, judges, people that work in the court system so that everyone understands if an animal is being abused, 76-percent of the time, someone else in the family is also being abused,” said Fiebelkorn. “We need to be looking at animal abuse because it’s a bad thing in and of itself, but it’s also an indicator that there’s other family violence happening. We all need to be looking at the big picture so we can save everyone in the family.”

The conference looks at the impact of pets in domestically violent homes and even how to treat children who abuse animals. Those involved say information is power and the more people that can train and learn from this, the better the chances of stopping abuse.

“When you bring a group like this together and you give them this information, it opens up a whole new world to them and it affects the change that we need for the betterment of animals,” said John Thompson, Executive Director of the National Animal Care and Control Association, who is also speaking at this conference.

If you work for an organization that could benefit from this kind of training to recognize abuse, Positive Links says they will come to you, free of charge. The non-profit is also looking for volunteers to help conduct the training.

“We always need volunteers to help us with training. We go around the state doing training for law enforcement and social workers and counselors and therapists, all year long. We need help getting right people for those trainings that need to be done,” said Fiebelkorn.

The conference started Monday and will wrap up Tuesday afternoon at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. It’s featuring experts from all over the country.

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