Protect the Animals

Humane organizations work hard to teach compassion.

Lynn Loar, PhD, is a no-nonsense woman with sparkling blue eyes that reflect her passion for the safety and well-being of people and animals.

Loar is the president of the Pryor Foundation, a non-profit organization studying and promoting methods that facilitate positive behavior change. Dr. Loar conducts workshops on the link between animal abuse and domestic violence, which provides those involved in animal protection and law enforcement the opportunity to learn more about detecting, preventing, and reporting abuse.

Abuse often starts with animal victims. They are easy targets because they are obviously smaller and they cant tell on the abuser, says Dr. Loar.

Teach Children to Care
The animal welfare movement has long recognized that children who are cruel to animals often grow up to be insensitive to people. The evidence linking animal abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence is growing.

According to The Latham Foundation (, a non-profit educational organization promoting humane education, Recent research confirms historical beliefs that animal abuse may be an indication of a dysfunctional family. In short, where animals are at risk, people are also at risk.

It is important to take animal abuse very seriously. If trivialized (boys will be boys) or ignored, the behavior may recur and the child will learn that he can get away with cruelty.

A child is not born cruel or compassionate; compassionate behavior is learned, says Dr. Loar. As with most things, children learn best by copying what they see around them. A child in a loving home will not learn to mistreat a pet. A child in an abusive, dysfunctional home learns very different behaviors. He learns that bullying and violence reap rewards such as compliance and obedience.

More and more, humane educational organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and the Pryor Foundation are working to educate the public and bring about an end to domestic violence and animal abuse.

Weve been working with humane associations to try and prevent cruelty and neglect by teaching kindness and compassion toward animals, Dr. Loar explains. The goal of the programs is not simply to prevent abuse to animals, but to instill compassion and understanding towards all living creatures.