Vets asked to spot signs of pet abuse as owners may also be at risk

July 14 2016

Essex vets are being asked to watch pets for signs of domestic abuse.

The campaign launch at RSPCA Danaher Animal Home near Wethersfield

A new campaign, which includes posters and pocket cards, was launched by Crimestoppers’ Essex committee, at RSPCA Danaher Animal Home near Wethersfield.

Research shows that dogs, cats and other pets owned by victims of domestic abuse can also be abused by the perpetrator - and it's vets, veterinary nurses and receptionists who are on the front line when it comes to dealing with or potentially identifying such cases.

Crimestoppers Essex committee’s development leader, Colin Dobinson, said: “If an animal has suffered abuse or non-accidental injury, it could mean that the family is at risk of violence or domestic abuse.

“Cases of animal or human abuse may not be common but it is vital that every opportunity is taken to help the victim – human or animal.

“Veterinary teams may have an important role to play in what could develop into a complex investigation involving different organisations. Our pocket guide, along with the Animal Welfare Foundation’s ‘Comprehensive Guidance for the Veterinary Team’, will help vet teams take appropriate action when faced with a suspected case of non-accidental injury.”

The campaign - which is being run in association with the Links Group, a multi-agency group that promotes safety among children, animals and adults - has been funded by the Percy Hoskins Award, which provides a grant of up to £15,000 to help fund a well-defined project run by a Crimestoppers local committee.

Information packs have been sent to vets across the county by the Animal Welfare Foundation and the British Veterinary Association, while the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have also lent their support.

John Kirkman, general manager at RSPCA Danaher Animal Home, which takes in around 700 unwanted animals a year, said: “Sadly, we see a number of cases where pets have come to us for rehoming because of incidents of abuse and we spend a great deal of time and effort helping with their recovery and rebuilding their trust.

“Any campaign which urges vets to be on the lookout for non-accidental injuries or suspicious has to be welcomed - and if that also helps create awareness of wider possible domestic violence in the home, then we are pleased to be able to lend our support.”


Information about domestic abuse or any other crimes, including animal abuse, can be given to Crimestoppers free and anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111, or filling in our Anonymous Online Form here on our website.

Calls and form submissions cannot be traced and information-givers are not asked to provide their personal details, give a statement or go to court.