* IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE OF A CONNECTION BETWEEN ANIMAL
CRUELTY AND HUMAN VIOLENCE?
Absolutely. Many studies in psychology, sociology, and
criminology during the last 25 years have demonstrated that violent
offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious
and repeated animal cruelty. The FBI has recognized the connection since
the 1970s, when bureau analysis of the life histories of imprisoned
serial killers suggested that most, as children, had killed or tortured
animals. Other research has shown consistent patterns of animal cruelty
among perpetrators of more common forms of violence, including child
abuse, spouse abuse, and elder abuse."
* IS ANIMAL ABUSE RECOGNIZED AS A SIGN OF MENTAL
Yes. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Assn lists animal cruelty as
one of the behaviours signaling conduct disorder. Clinical evidence
indicates that animal cruelty is one of the symptoms usually seen at the
earliest stages of conduct disorder, often by the age of eight. This
information has only recently been included in the DSM, so some
psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers are just now becoming
aware of it."
* WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO STOP ANIMAL ABUSERS WHEN THEY
A 1994 report released by the National Research Council
states that early intervention is more likely to reduce adult crime than
criminal sanctions applied later in life. The report further states that
childhood behaviour is more important than teenage behaviour in
predicting future violence.
* WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT YOUNG ANIMAL ABUSERS FROM
DEVELOPING INTO VIOLENT ADULTS?
Crimes against animals are not isolated events. FBI
experts advise all appropriate agencies to share case information with
one another. A comprehensive approach with cooperation from the family,
support from the school, and counseling by a psychologist or social
worker is essential."
Some highly publicized case examples of the "connection"
May 21, 1998, Springfield, OR. Kip Kinkel, 15, allegedly
walked into his high school cafeteria and opened fire on his classmates.
Friends and family have indicated that Kinkel has a history of animal
abuse and torture. Friends say that he often bragged about torturing and
April 9, 1998, West Dallas, TX. Seven and 8 year-old
brothers and an 11-year-old friend were arrested for kidnapping, beating
and sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl. A local television station
reported that the brothers had been involved in animal cruelty.
March 24, 1998, Jonesboro, AR. Mitchell Johnson - 13,
and Andrew Golden -11, allegedly shot and killed four students and one
teacher ambushed during a fire drill. A school friend of Golden stated
that Andrew "said he shoots dogs all the time with a .22."
October 1, 1997, Pearl, MS. Luke Woodham -16, allegedly
stabbed his mother to death. Woodham then allegedly went to his high
school where he shot and killed two classmates and injured seven others.
Woodham stated in his personal journal that he and an accomplice beat,
burned, and tortured his dog, Sparkle, to death. He said it was, "true
December 1, 1997, West Paducah, KY. Michael Carneal -
14, allegedly shot and killed three classmates at school. According to
another student, Carneal talked about throwing a cat into a bonfire.
November 1996, Tavares, FL. Rod Ferrell - 17, "vampire
cult leader" and cult members Heather Wendorf, 16, Howard Anderson, 17,
Dana Cooper, 20, and Charity Keesee, 17, were arrested in connection
with the bludgeoning deaths of Wendorf's parents. Media accounts include
animal torture and mutilation as part of their rituals.
December 4, 1994, SF, CA. A 17 year-old, along with two
15 year-old friends were arrested in the beating death of a 15 year-old
friend. Officials reported that the older boy had a history of fire
starting and animal torture, including an incident at age 11 where he is
reported to have thrown a cat in the air until he broke two of its legs.
March 6, 1994, Cleveland, OH. "Jack," a 16 year-old
serial sex offender in Cleveland was charged with rape and sexual
battery. His other victims reportedly included infants and animals.
SOME CHILLING STATISTICS:
The U.S. Bureau of Statistics reported that in 1996
there were 9.1 million violent crimes in the United States.
A 1997 study by the MSPCA and Northeastern University
found that 70% of animal abusers had committed at least one other
criminal offense and almost 40% had committed violent crimes against
A 1986 study reported that 48% of convicted rapists and
30% of convicted child molesters admitted perpetrating acts of animal
cruelty in their childhood or adolescence. (Tingle et al, 1986)
A history of animal abuse was found in 25% of aggressive
male criminals, 30% of convicted child molesters, 36% of those who
assaulted women, and 46% of those convicted of sexual homicide. (Petrovoski,
Every 15 seconds a woman is battered (National Coalition
Against Domestic Violence).
In three surveys in women's shelters in WI and UT in the
late 1990s an average of 74% of pet-owning women reported that a pet had
been threatened, injured or killed by the abusers. (Ascione 1995 & 1997
and Quinlisk, 1995)
The Buffalo, NY police department and the SPCA of Erie
County found that 1/3 of the residences with animal abuse complaints
also had domestic violence complaints (1998)
A survey of women in a safehouse in UT found that 20%
delayed leaving the abusive situation out of fear that their pet would
be harmed. Data currently being collected in Canada found almost 50%
delayed leaving. (Ascione, 1997)
The 1995 UT survey also found that children witnessed
the animal abuse in over 60% of the cases and 32% of women reported that
one or more of their children hurt or killed a pet.
In 1991 the US Board on Child Abuse and Neglect released
a report indicating that more than 2.5 million American children are
suffering from abuse and neglect.
A 1983 survey in NJ of families reported for child abuse
found that in 88% of the families at least one person had abused
animals. (Devine, Dickered & Lockwood, 1983)
The NJ study also found that in 2/3 of these cases, the
abusive parent had injured or killed a pet and in 1/3 of the cases,
children were the animal abusers.
A study by the Royal SPCA in Great Britain found that
83% of families with a history of animal abuse had also been identified
by social service agencies as at-risk for child abuse or neglect.
A special toll-free number has been established for
information regarding The HSUS's First Strike Campaign. To order a First
Strike packet, or to obtain further information, call toll-free
1-888-213-0956 OR write:
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Go on to Executioner
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