[opinion from Marin Independent-Journal]

IN FEBRUARY, I received a phone call from a veterinarian who saved the life of not only a cat but possibly a young woman as well.

The cat was brought to the vet near death, in shock, with life-threatening injuries. While those of us in the field of animal welfare often see thousands of cases of severely injured animals during our careers, this case was different. Little did we know then that the case would take twists and turns that would result in it being one of the most severe cases of animal cruelty and human violence we had ever investigated - and it all started with a simple call to the Marin Humane Society.
Not only did the veterinarian confirm her findings about the cat, but she connected the cycle of animal abuse with domestic violence. That's when she called the Humane Society to see if it would be possible to investigate the animal abuse without sacrificing the woman's safety. She and I also spoke with the victim extensively about resources that could help her.
This case makes clear how important it is for everyone to understand the critical link between animal cruelty and human violence. The power of one phone call to report an incident of animal abuse may prove to be a lifeline for not only the animals but also the people who love them.
Cindy Machado is the county's animal control officer and the director of animal services at the Marin Humane Society, which contributes Tails of Marin articles and welcomes animal-related questions and stories. Contact or write to Tails of Marin, 171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd. Novato, CA 94949. For more information, call 883-4621 or log onto www.marinhumane
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