Adult protective services and animal welfare: should animal abuse and neglect be assessed during adult protective services screening?

J Elder Abuse Negl. 2012;24(1):37-49. doi: 10.1080/08946566.2011.608047.


Past research has examined links among animal abuse, child maltreatment, and intimate partner violence and demonstrated the importance of addressing the needs of both human and animal victims. We hypothesized that there might be a similar link between animal abuse and older adult welfare issues. As a first step in the earlier research was the development of a screening protocol that shed light on the link between domestic violence and animal abuse, we decided to follow a similar route to explore this new topic by asking state government representatives about their experiences, if any, with this topic. Here we report the results of a national survey of state Adult Protective Services agencies regarding their protocols for assessing animal welfare issues in the context of older adult maltreatment. We also describe a model assessment protocol we developed in collaboration with the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animal Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Animals
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Elder Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Elder Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans