Philosophy of AR > Animals and Abuse Linked
Animal Cruelty and Interpersonal Violence

To animal lovers, violence against animals is cruel and unfathomable. To the rest of the world, it is 'just an animal'. Humans matter more. But aren't humans really the cruelest species of all? Most animals kill for food and territory, but humans kill also for sport, entertainment, fashion, and cosmetics!

Many researchers have found that a history of animal violence indicates a high propensity for interpersonal violence. Simply, those who abuse animals usually move on to human victims. Although not all animal abusers become serial killer, most serial killers began their killing spree with animals. The difference is that those who do not learn that it is cruel and wrong. In any case, repeated and extreme violence indicates a serious psychological violence that requires immediate treatment.

The cause of animal violence, according to Mother Hildegard George, a child psychologist and nun, our culture of violence. This culture of violence conditions and sensitizes us to violence, and teaches us to discriminate. Against people different from us, and animals. Discrimination is dangerous because it gives us an excuse to exercise that propensity for violence embedded in us. It gives us an excuse to abuse, mistreat, and deny rights to those we discriminate against. This is evident in the slavery of Black people in America last century and early this century, abuse of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany in World War II, devaluation of women before this century, and world-wide abuse of animals to perpetuate the human race.

What we must do is to change our perceptions and open our eyes. After all, animals inhabited this world way before us. What right have we to abuse and enslave them to 'improve' our lives? Lawmakers must be made aware of this connection between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence, and laws changed to detect, rehabilitate or punish animal abusers. Humane education should be practiced in schools. Pets should be treated as members of the family, not as an inferior species. Children should be taught to respect all animals, then they will too respect all life. Right now, we should increase awareness of this connection between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence. Imagine if people were taught this fact, how many lives, animal and human, could have been saved.


"Russell Weston Jr., tortured and killed 12 cats, by burning, cutting their tails, paws, ears off, put toxic chemicals in their eyes, blinding them, forcing them to eat poison, hanging them from trees; the noose loose enough to create a slow and painful death, as the cat/kitten struggles to free itself as the noose gets tighter with each attempt. Later killed 2 officers at our Nation's Capitol."

"Jeffery Dahmer loved to dissect animals (he learned this in school). Later he dissected boys, and kept their body parts in the refrigerator. Murdered 17 men."

"On May 21, 1998 in Springfield, Oregon; 15-year-old Kip Kinkel set a live cat on fire and dragged the innocent creature through the main street of town. He walked into his high school cafeteria and opened fire on his classmates. Two classmates were killed and 22 others injured, four critically. Later that day, police found his parents shot to death in their home."

"Albert De Salvo, the "Boston Strangler," would place a dog and cat in a crate with a partition between them. After starving the animals for several days, he would remove the partition and watch them kill each other. He raped and killed 13 women by strangulation. He would often pose the bodies in a shocking manner after their murders."

"Richard Allen Davis set numerous cats on fire. He killed all of Polly Klaus' animals before abducting & murdering Polly Klaus, aged 12, from her bedroom."

"Eleven-year-old Andrew Golden, 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson, tortured and killed dogs. A friend of Golden stated that "he shoots dogs all the time with a .22." On March 24, 1998, in Jonesboro, Arkansas; Golden and Johnson shot and killed four students and one teacher during a fire drill at their school."

"Prior to commiting multiple murders, Luke Woodham, age 16, wrote in his personal journal that he and an accomplice beat, burned and tortured his dog, Sparkle, to death. Woodham said it was "true beauty." He poured liquid fuel down his dog's throat and set fire to her neck, both inside and outside. On 10/1/1977, Woodham stabbed his mother to death and then went to his high school where he shot and killed two classmates -- two girls aged 16 and 17, and injured seven others. In June 1998, Woodham was found guilty of three murders and seven counts of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to three life sentences and an additional 20 years for each assault."

"Theodore Robert Bundy was forced to witness animal cruelty by his grandfather. He later killed thirty-three women."

"Michael Cartier pulled numerous rabbit's legs out of their sockets when he was four years old and threw a kitten through a closed window. He went on to shoot Kristin Lardner three times in the head, killing her."

"Henry Lee Lucas killed numerous animals and had sex with their corpses. He killed his mother, common law wife and an unknown number of people."

"Edward Kemperer cut up two cats. He later killed his grandparents, his mother and seven other women."

"Richard Speck threw a bird into a ventilator fan. Killed eight women."

"Randy Roth taped a cat to a car's engine and used an industrial sander on a frog. Killed two of his wives and attempted to kill a third."

"David Richard Davis shot and killed two healthy ponies, threw a wine bottle at a pair of kittens and hunted with illegal methods. Murdered his wife, Shannon Mohr Davis, for insurance money."

"Peter Kurten, the Dusseldorf Monster, tortured dogs, and practiced bestiality while killing the animal. Murdered or attempted to murder over 50 men, women and children."

"Richard Trenton Chase, "The Vampire Killer of Sacramento," bit the heads off birds, drained animals for their blood, killed animals for their organs, and later killed six people in random attacks. One police officer who was at the scene of the first murder, confessed to having nightmares about the crime for months afterwards."

"The Kobe Killer, an as yet unnamed 15-year-old boy in Japan, beheaded a cat and strangled several pigeons. Decapitated 11-year-old Jun Hase, and battered to death a 10-year-old girl with a hammer, and assaulted three other children in separate attacks."

"Richard William Leonard's grandmother forced him to kill and mutilate cats and kittens when he was a child. He later killed Stephen Dempsey with a bow and arrow. He also killed Ezzedine Bahmad by slashing his throat."

"Tom Dillion murdered people's pets. He shot and killed Jamie Paxton, aged 21; Claude Hawkins, aged 49; Donald Welling, aged 35; Kevin Loring, aged 30; and Gary Bradely, aged 44."

"At 9 years old, Eric Smith strangled a neighbor's cat. At 13 years old, he bludgeoned four-year-old Derrick Robie to death. Smith lured the little boy into the woods, choked him, sodomized him with a stick, then beat him to death with a rock."

"When Jack Bassenti's dog had puppies, he buried all but one of them alive. He later raped and murdered three women."

"David Berkowitz, "Son of Sam," poisoned his mother's parakeet out of jealousy. He later shot thirteen young men and women. Six people died and at least two suffered permanent disabilities."

"Arthur Shawcross repeatedly threw a kitten into a lake until the kitten drowned from exhaustion. Killed a young girl. Then, after serving 15-1/2 years in prison, he killed 11 more women."

"Michael Perry decapitated a neighbor's dog. He later killed his parents, his infant nephew and two neighbors."

"Jason Massey killed cats, dogs and cows. Killed his thirteen year old stepsister & a fourteen year old boy."

"Patrick Sherrill Stole neighborhood pets and encouraged his dog to attack them. Killed 14 people at his workplace."

"Keith Hunter Jesperson, "The Happy Face Killer," strangled a cat. He is known to have killed at least one woman."

"Joel Steinburg refused medical treatment for his adopted daughter Lisa's pet rabbit when it broke its leg. He later killed her; when she was found, Lisa had extensive bruises all over her body from repeated abuse."

For more information, visit First Strike: The Connection Between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence

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