The link between animal abuse and domestic violence cannot be ignored. A growing body of research has shown that people who abuse animals rarely stop there. A great majority (71%) of women seeking shelter from abuse reported that their partners had threatened, injured, or killed one or more family pets. Harm of threat of harm to a pet can be used to control, intimidate and terrorize a domestic violence victim who has a strong emotional attachment to their pet. Not surprisingly, many women delay leaving an abusive situation because they are afraid for their animals. Countless more never leave home at all. 

“Animals are family members and they matter too.  They deserve our protection.”  -Pamela Wiseman, NMCADV Executive Director. 

Startling Statistics:

  • Studies show up to 65% of domestic violence victims delay leaving abusive relationships or don’t report their situations due to concern for their animals’ welfare. Most victims believe there is nowhere to go with their animals.

  • Batterers frequently use animal cruelty to demonstrate power and control over family members

    • To force submission and to remain silent about abuse

    • To coerce children into sexual abuse

    • To prevent the victim from leaving, or

    • To pressure the victim to return

  • In 2011, there were 21,368 victims of domestic violence incidents reported to New Mexico law enforcement agencies, but domestic violence remains one of the most underreported crimes.

  • Among the victims of domestic violence who have companion animals and reported to shelters, over 71 percent report that their abusers threatened, injured or killed the family pet(s).

  • However, most New Mexico domestic violence shelters cannot accommodate animals. A recent survey showed that seven (7) of 31 shelters can accommodate just a few companion animals.

In an effort to help solve the problem of domestic violence and animal abuse the NMCADV has partnered with Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM). We are working together to expand the Companion Animal Rescue Effort (CARE). 

Companion Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) is a network of safe havens for the animals of domestic violence victims in New Mexico. CARE empowers individuals to leave abusive home environments by providing temporary housing for companion animals, livestock and exotic animals.  Temporary homes are provided through a network of government agencies and private agencies, veterinary clinics, groomers, boarding kennels and private individuals. Many of the safe havens within the New Mexico network are free of charge; others charge a nominal fee or operate on a sliding scale.

To learn more about CARE visit:

How to Help: Become a safe haven provider for animals in need.

Daniel Abram, Deputy Director of APNM on CARE

See what NMCADV and APNM are doing in support:

  • CARE Fact Sheet
  • Update: Senate Bill 187 was passed in the 2014 Legislative Session and secured funding to expand the CARE program!

TA Guidance from the National Domestic Violence Resource Center – Comprehensive information and tips for advocates to help victims and survivors with companion animals.

From National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:  

From American Humane Association:


In January 2014, Laura Bonar of APNM, spoke on the link between animal abuse and domestic violence:

On September 25, 2014 representatives from NMCADV, APNM and legislative supporters gathered at the State Capitol Roundhouse to declare their support for the Companion Animal Rescue Effort (CARE). 


Meet Sophie! Sherry Mangold, Educational Program Director for APNM, tells us the story of Sophie, a domestic violence survivor, and explains the link between animal abuse and domestic violence.