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Philosophy of AR > Animals and Abuse Linked


The Abuse Connection

It has been proven over and over. Statistical data, case studies, psychologists, and even FBI Profilers show us the connection over and over again, and yet animal abuse crimes are not given nearly the weight that human crimes are given. Animal abuse clearly illustrates a lack of empathy for the suffering of others, which is a signficant characteristic of sociopathic personalities.

If you break it down to its bare essentials:
"Abusing an animal is a way for a human to find power/joy/fulfillment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend itself."

Now break down a human crime, say rape. If we substitute a few pronouns, it's the SAME THING.
"Rape is a way for a human to find power/joy/fulfillment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend themselves."

Now try it with, say, domestic abuse such as child abuse or spousal abuse:
"Child abuse is a way for a human to find power/joy/fulfillment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend themselves."

Do you see the pattern here?

The line separating an animal abuser from someone capable of committing human abuse is much finer than most people care to consider. People abuse animals for the same reasons they abuse people. Some of them will stop with animals, but enough have been proven to continue on to commit violent crimes to people that it's worth paying attention to.

Virtually every serious violent offender has a history of animal abuse in their past, and since there's no way to know which animal abuser is going to continue on to commit violent human crimes, they should ALL be taken that seriously. FBI Supervisory Special Agent Allen Brantley was quoted as saying "Animal cruelty... is not a harmless venting of emotion in a healthy individual; this is a warning sign..." It should be looked at as exactly that. Its a clear indicator of psychological issues that can and often DO lead to more violent human crimes.

History is full of high-profile examples:

    Patrick Sherrill, who killed 14 coworkers at a post office and then shot himself, had a history of stealing local pets and allowing his own dog to attack and mutilate them.

    Earl Kenneth Shriner, who raped, stabbed, and mutilated a 7-year-old boy, had been widely known in his neighborhood as the man who put firecrackers in dogs' rectums and strung up cats.

    Brenda Spencer, who opened fire at a San Diego school, killing two children and injuring nine others, had repeatedly abused cats and dogs, often by setting their tails on fire.

    Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler" who killed 13 women, trapped dogs and cats in orange crates and shot arrows through the boxes in his youth.

    Carroll Edward Cole, executed for five of the 35 murders of which he was accused, said his first act of violence as a child was to strangle a puppy.

    In 1987, three Missouri high school students were charged with the beating death of a classmate. They had histories of repeated acts of animal mutilation starting several years earlier. One confessed that he had killed so many cats he'd lost count. Two brothers who murdered their parents had previously told classmates that they had decapitated a cat.

    Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer had impaled dogs' heads, frogs, and cats on sticks.

More recently, high school killers such as 15-year-old Kip Kinkel in Springfield, Ore., and Luke Woodham, 16, in Pearl, Miss., tortured animals before embarking on shooting sprees. Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who shot and killed 12 classmates before turning their guns on themselves, bragged about mutilating animals to their friends.

As powerful a statement as the high-profile examples above make, they don't even begin to scratch the surface of the whole truth behind the abuse connection. Learning more about the animal cruelty/interpersonal violence connection is vital for community members and law enforcement alike.

Related Pages
Pet-Abuse.Com - The Abuse Connection - The Whole Picture
Pet-Abuse.Com - Cruelty Connection Cases
American Humane: The Link
National Crime Prevention Council: Screening Animal Cruelty Cases for Domestic Violence
First Strike: The Connection Between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence
HSUS: Animal SafeHaven Directory
PSYETA: A Collection of Journal Articles on the Link
The Abuse of Animals and Domestic Violence: A National Survey of Shelters for Women Who Are Battered (Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D)
Battered Women's Reports of Their Partners' and Their Children's Cruelty to Animals (Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D)
Animal Welfare and Domestic Violence (Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D)
The Latham Foundation for the Promotion of Humane Education
Bibliography of Materials about Animal Abuse, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Compiled by Phil Arkow

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