BOOKS: Breaking the Cycles of Violence

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1995:

Breaking the Cycles of Violence
Guidebook and video to crosstrain child and animal protection personnel.
Latham Foundation (Latham Plaza Bldg., Clement & Schiller, Alameda, CA 94501),
1995. Text: 63 pages. Video: 28 minutes. $29.75/kit; $10.95/extra texts.
Early on June 17, Santiago
Sanguillen, 32, of Los Angeles, a 260-
pound weightlifter, severely beat his wife,
in front of her 14-year-old daughter. Waving
a loaded gun, Sanguillen then battered the
daughter’s puppy to death. On July 25, after
a three-day jury trial, Sanguillen was sen-
tenced. Perhaps because the case was moni-
tored by local humane activists, Sanguillen
drew 270 days, of a maximum 365, for
killing the puppy––but for abusing and terror-
izing the women, got just 90 days.
“We have become accustomed to
small victories,” observer Bill Dyer said.
Many such cases aren’t even prosecuted.

On July 28, the Domestic Violence
Intervention Project of La Crosse,
Wisconsin, released data from a study of 72
female refugees from family violence.
According to Darcy Kemnitz, former execu-
tive director of the Alliance for Animals,
now at law school, “Ten reported no animals
in the home, although one reported that her
husband liked to tease and annoy his moth-
er’s dogs and cats. Thirteen had pets and
reported no violence toward the animals.
Forty-nine (68%) had pets and reported ani-
mal abuse including 30 kicks, 24 hits or
punches, three mutilations, and 11 animal
deaths. Thirteen events of neglect of food or
water were reported, along with 10 events of
neglect of shelter, and 13 cases of refusal to
provide veterinary care. Forty-three such
incidents occurred in front of the woman,
and 37 in front of the children. Similar
behavior was repeated by children, 14 times
toward pets, four times toward wildlife, and
twice toward livestock.”
At about the same time, the
Latham Foundation issued Breaking the
Cycles of Violence, a video-and-guidebook
introduction to the pathology of family abuse
and animal abuse.
Offering more background than
how-to, the video reprises the 1992
American Humane Association conference
on family abuse and animal abuse, at which
video participants Phil Arkow, Frank
Ascione, Mary Pat Boatfield, Samuel Roth,
Lyn Loar, and Ken White all spoke. Roth
describes Green Chimneys, a New York pro-
gram that calms disturbed inner city children
by introducing them to animal care on a sub-
urban farm; a segment shows the Sonoma
County Humane Society’s gardening project
for abused children; and Michigan Humane
Society staff describe how they handled
memorable cases.
Otherwise, how-to is left to the
extremely detailed text, which includes
resource lists and a directory of the principal
agencies concerned with family and animal
abuse in each state. There are step-by-step
explanations of how to investigate family and
animal abuse complaints: what to look for,
what to look out for, and how to talk an irate
parent or spouse down, if need be.
The Latham text could be used as
the basis for a semester-long course. Most
cross-training exercises will unfortunately
have to be done within a single day––but the
text can be kept near the telephone for quick
use, and could soon be thumbed to tatters.
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