Senator Guy Reschenthaler (R-37) and Representative Joseph Petrarca held a capitol news conference yesterday to discuss their legislation to institute cross reporting measures for child and animal abuse.
Senate Bill 1231, which Reschenthaler is sponsoring, and House Bill 2007 would add animal control and human society police officers to the list of mandated reporters – those required to report suspected cases of child abuse – while social services employees would be required to report suspected cases of animal abuse.
A number of studies connect animal abuse to family violence. A survey of pet-owning families with substantiated child abuse found that animals were abused in 88 percent of the homes. And, a study of women seeking shelter from abuse showed that 71 percent of those with pets reported their partner had threatened, hurt or killed their companion animals.
“It is very important that we move to better protect children and animals,” said Reschenthaler. “Mandating the cross reporting of child abuse and animal abuse is a highly effective tool to better recognize distressed and unsafe households and get women, children, and animals into safe situations.”
Also speaking at the event on the connection between child and animal abuse were Cathy Palm of the Center for Children’s Justice of Pennsylvania and Kristen Tullo of the Humane Society of the United States.
Connecticut, Illinois, West Virginia and the District of Columbia specifically require this type of cross-reporting, while several other states require one side or the other to report suspected abuse. California, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and Maine require animal control to report suspected child abuse, and Massachusetts, Louisiana, Nebraska and Tennessee child welfare employees must report animal abuse.
CONTACT: Aaron Bonnaure (717) 787-5839