Eyes of a Friend

Life with companion animals

It’s NOT “just an animal” when someone abuses it

on February 26, 2010

The Link and Violent Crimes

Law enforcement agencies and courts worldwide are recognizing that people who commit acts of serious animal abuse frequently have previous histories of, or future tendencies toward, violent crimes against humans.

(Received an email last night that one of our group’s cat colony caretaker’s had witnessed a drive-by shooting aimed at the cats she feeds – one cat was wounded, and I imagine that the caretaker was not worried only about what might happen next to the cats, but to herself. )
Children’s acts of animal abuse are some of the strongest and earliest diagnostic indicators of conduct disorder, often beginning as young as age six and a half (Ascione, 2001).

( I’ve always thought that we have a natural instinct to love furry animals – no one ever had to teach me to want to pet a kitten or a puppy. When something interferes with that natural instinct – like a parent teaching, on purpose or by action, that animals are to tortured instead of loved, there are consequences. Nasty consequences for all of us.)

The FBI identifies animal cruelty as one of several juvenile behaviors associated with increasingly violent behavior. The FBI uses reports of animal cruelty in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals (Lockwood & Church, 1996).

(If you ever read comments in online news forums, there’s always someone who says “it’s JUST an animal”, or “people shouldn’t get upset about animal abuse because there are so many children who are being abused” – as though humane people cannot fight against BOTH child abuse and animal abuse. When people rise up to show their disapproval and disgust for animal abusers, they ARE working to fight against child abuse, elder abuse, abuse and violence of all people – because a person who is vicious towards animals will be, or already is, vicious towards people. They need to be stopped.  They need to be shown that their behavior is totally unacceptable. They need intervention and therapy, but first they need to be identified and stopped.)

In a Massachusetts study, 70% of animal abusers had criminal records including crimes involving violence, property, drugs, or disorderly behavior (Arluke & Luke, 1997).
Half of school shooters have histories of animal cruelty (Verlinden, Herson, & Thomas, 2000).
Of search warrants executed for animal abuse or dog-fighting investigations, 35% resulted in seizure of either narcotics or guns.
Of 22 offenders arrested for animal abuse violations, 18 had prior arrests for battery, weapons, or drug charges and 5 had
subsequent arrests for felony offenses (Chicago Crime Commission, 2004).
Thirty-one percent of inner-city teens in Chicago have attended a dogfight (Cleveland, 2006).  (We’re all thinking it — the NEXT Michael Vick? )
Adults who keep vicious dogs are more likely to have been arrested for violent crimes and drug- and property-related offenses
(Barnes, Boat, Putnam, Dates, & Mahlman, 2006).
A Canadian police review of crime records found that 70% of people charged with cruelty to animals also had other reported
incidents of violent behavior, including homicide (Boat & Knight, 2000).

There’s more, much more — More info about The Link

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