Animal Cruelty and Elder Abuse

Issues of animal cruelty and older adults usually involve neglect or exploitation by others using threats of violence or actual violence to exert control and power over victims.

Adult protection services (APS) workers see multiple forms of family violence and neglect.

  • More than one-third of APS caseworkers reported that their clients’ pets are threatened, injured, killed, or denied care.
  • Approximately 45% of a group of surveyed APS supervisors and case workers reported seeing intentional animal abuse or neglect when visiting clients
  • 75% reported that clients’ concerns for their pets affected their decisions to accept interventions or other services.
  • 92% of adult protective services caseworkers reported they encountered animal neglect co-existing with their clients’ inability to care for themselves.

Seniors are vulnerable to those who would exploit this bond to exert power and control, financial exploitation, or to retaliate. Perpetrators may manipulate this bond to intimidate or coerce victims; they may threaten to abuse or get rid of the pet.