Statistics show more than 70 percent of domestic abuse survivors claimed their partner harmed or killed animals to intimidate them. Some Oklahoma sheriff's offices are teaming up to raise awareness about the link.
Investigator Frank Miller says he remembers the day he walked onto a property in rural Craig County and found more than 10 dead dogs and several others that were severely malnourished.
"In my 26 years of law enforcement, this is the worst case I've ever seen. Conditions were absolutely deplorable. No food or water.” said Miller
Glenn Ranay Davidson was sentenced on 3 felony counts of animal abuse. Investigators say a registered sex offender also listed that address as his home.
"We have direct ties linking the sexual abuse of a child to the home where there was heinous animal cruelty," said Miller.
Oklahoma is one of two states in the country that is working to raise awareness about the link between animal cruelty and family violence. The Craig County Sheriff's Office along with their neighbors in Ottawa County were two of the first agencies to jump on board.
“If we can see a pattern of animal abuse at an early stage then we can correct that before it becomes a major problem.” Said Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd.
Research shows that abusers often kill or harm pets to orchestrate fear which could mean that there are other types of abuse in the home.
“We want to get the animals out of that situation then we want to start looking deeper into why is this person abusing that particular animal,” said Floyd
Across the US, 71% of battered women reported that their abusers had harmed, killed or threatened animals to coerce or humiliate them.
Local Shelters say they see the impact that abuse has first-hand but they believe the public can play a big role in helping stop it.
“If you just look for the signs and report it when you do see those signs it can help,” said Brittany Browne for the City of Miami.
And Sheriff Floyd hopes this will encourage other law enforcement agencies to jump on board.
“We want this to be a great program that will not only help the pets but the people involved,” said Floyd.