Hypothesis 1. The ethnicity or race of an individual may or may not have an effect on their propensity to abuse or not abuse animals. To prove or disprove this initial hypothesis, it would be necessary to select an equal group of individuals from every possible racial background. For example, 25 men and 25 women between the ages of twenty and forty would be selected from each racial background. These groups would include Caucasian, African American, Latino and Asian. These groups would all be blind to what the study was about. The groups would be kept separate by race and monitored in a facility for one week. Each individual would be placed with a dog. Each individual would be monitored for the duration of the week. The dogs would also be monitored. At the end of the week, the following would be determined: The behavior of the dog as compared to the behavior at the beginning of the week; the number of times each person fed, watered, petted or spent time with the dog (walking the dog etc); and of course any abuse or neglect would be determined.
The possible problems with this study would be age variation in the individuals as a possible factor, whether or not each person was a "dog" person or not, whether or not the person avoided displaying abusive behavior due to feeling "watched" or observed. Possible challenges for this particular method of study might include the fact that there are several variables within the study such as both women and men. The question of whether or not males are more likely to abuse animals as opposed to females could be posed. Another variable to consider is whether the individuals in the study had been abused as children as this may play in to their tendency to be abusive as adults. Also, the fact that this study is not being conducted on a large scale may be a challenging factor. However, the relatively small size of the groups should keep costs low and should therefore be within reach.
Finally, religious background could be a variable not foreseen or considered. If an individual is of Hindu faith, they will revere animals as much as human life and therefore possibly be that much less susceptible to abusive behavior towards animals. A solution to this variable dilemma may be to only select individuals of non religion. If individuals have no religious beliefs, this may even out the subjects that are being studied, that much more. Other religions, such as Santeria customarily perform animal sacrifice and therefore may view animals in a less than ethical way.
Hypothesis 2. The occurrence of domestic violence and animal abuse may be correlated. If domestic abuse is more prominent in a particular race, then animal abuse must also be. "Shelter women were more likely to report that their partners had threatened to hurt their pets" (Ascione, Weber, Wood, 1997). In order to conduct a study to explore this hypothesis, one would have to narrow down the study to either domestic abusers or victims of domestic abuse" In recent years the link between animal cruelty and family violence has captured the attention of sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, and lawmakers" (Faver, Strand, 2003).
The best way to go about this study would be to work within roughly 4 women's shelters. These shelters would need to be a good distance apart from one another in order to broaden the demographics of the study. Once gaining permission from the shelter and its residence, one would need to