The intentional harming and killing of animals is often tied to violence against humans, and knowledge of this connection can be used to improve anti-cruelty and public safety efforts, according to experts in law, psychology, and veterinary forensics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, reports Forensic Magazine.

The link between animal cruelty and domestic violence was one topic at the 10th Annual Veterinary Forensic Sciences Conference in New York City last month. During the session, ASPCA supervisor of forensic sciences in New York City, Dr. Robert Reisman, and ASPCA legal advocacy counsel Elizabeth Brandler, discussed over 65 NYC cases from 2014 to 2016 in which domestic abuse and animal abuse were connected.

"Animal abuse is often referred to as the tip of the iceberg and can be a glimpse into other family dynamics that may be at play," Brandler said during the session. "This can also serve as a major risk factor for committing abuse against a partner."

Reisman told Forensic Magazine that the frequency of the co-occurrence of animal cruelty and domestic violence in New York City has come to light after an increase in caseload following the partnership of the ASPCA and the New York Police Department in 2014. He said they now see such cases about every other week. During the conference session, he made note of his increased awareness of this link and the role that animal advocates have in ending all types of violence.