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Domestic Violence Pet Warning

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4:10pm 21st November 2011

Police say animal cruelty could be a warning sign of domestic violence in Cornwall.

Officers tell us in a fifth of the worst cases, pets are being abused too.

That is stuff like cats and dogs being kicked, punched or even burnt.

Carolyn Southwell from the RSPCA says, ""I think the difficulty from the animal's point-of-view is that they are the silent victim of domestic abuse. They're not able to ask for help. They're not able to leave. This is why we need to step in and help them and help the families to leave the abusive situations".

Since April, Devon and Cornwall Police have dealt with 14 thousand domestic abuse crimes.

The force admits the number of reports is up on last year.

Detective Inspector Andy Berry explains why: "We're getting better at helping people and better at spreading the message that if you are a victim, you're not alone. You're not strange or unusual. It's something which is very common but that there's an awful lot of services that can help".

4:10pm 21st November 2011

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