Kids and Animal Cruelty

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I did some reading on the website for the National DV Hotline. I found an interesting article about children and animal cruelty. I was unaware that a majority of abusers hurt animals when they were younger.

    This gives info about what to do if you see a child hurting an animal and also about the link between animal cruelty and violent behavior. Animal cruelty predicts more than just being one of the three signs of a serial killer.

    I don't know if any of us are dealing with this now, but I know it has been a problem in the past.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks, Susie.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Interesting article, thanks.
    All serial killers I've read about (and I love true crime) were animal abusers. They start with animals and move on (like Ted bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer). I didn't know it meant other things too, but I did know it wasn't a good thing to want to hurt a living thing :(
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I was aware of that. Many states have added training for their soc wkrs to be on the alert for animal abuse, or animal neglect.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Interesting topic- even though most seem to acknowledge that animal cruelty, especially in a young child- is a sign of major disturbacne and a big red flag for future violence. I tend to think it should be researched and anddressed more adequately while the child is very young- as soon as it becomes apparent. Mainly because I had a second cousin who hugged his cat to death. In his case, his parents had just gotten a divorce (I think he was 3 or 4 yo) because his mom divorced his dad when he got put into prison- but I'm not sure why his father was put into prison. I want to say maybe B&E. Anyway, since my cousin had a somewhat typical, 2-parent household before then, he was having a difficult time adjusting so his mom bought him a kitten. He literally hugged the kitten to death which sent everyone who knoew into a major tizzy. As it turns out, and this is after numerous trips to several tdocs and the benefit of many years passing to verify how things would turn out- he really did not intentionally hurt the kitten. He was not violent or cruel to people or animals as he grew up or as an adult. I do agree that it was called for and appropriate for his mother to take him to those tdocs- obviously she wanted to be sure there wasn't an issue of developing violence, but even so- he did have issues over self-identity and security, etc, or he wouldn't have kept hugging the kitten to that point. But I can only imagine what would have happened to him if he;'d lived in today's society and this had come out in a pre-school or kindergarten class where people tend to panic more now than they did that many years ago. My cousin did have issues that needed to be addressed- but he wasn't a budding psychopath. If this has happened these days, he would have been treated and forced into the path of a sociopath.

    I'm glad to see that some are at least looking at these signs in young children as maybe meaning a problem, but that it isn't so cut and dry or black and white as some might think. Hopefully this will lead to some coming to realize that if you treat a kid for the wrong, and more serious issues, than what they really have, it can be counter-productive. I thank God that difficult child only had the typical learning needs when it came to animals- you know- don't pick a dog up by the legs (he was 5yo), don't get near the food when the dog is eating, etc.
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    There's a heckuva difference between intentional animal cruelty and a toddler having to be taught how to be kind and safe with animals. Most toddlers have to be taught not to pull tails, put fingers in ears, bother an animal when it is eating or grooming itself.

    Animal cruelty involves the intent to cause pain and recieving reactions that provide positive feedback. It's a HUGE red flag for later behavioral issues.

    That said, for safety reasons, NO child should be allowed near an animal without adult supervision.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree whole-heartedly with what you are saying, GN. The problem comes though when the people making that call - whether or not it's 1) a kid who needs to be taught typical, appropriate ways to treat an animal, 2) a kid who has issues but isn't intentionally trying to hurt an animal or isn't getting any jollies out of seeing another living being (animal or person) hurting, and 3) a kid who really is wanting to be cruel and inflict pain or physical injury to another living being- are people aren't well-trained enough and just go into a panic trying to play it safe and jump to the worse conclusion no matter what. The point I was trying to make is that while some surely would require the most streneous interventions to have any hope at all, some who might have issues but aren't budding psychopaths need appropriate interventions- not panic- in order to be helped and prevent things like domestic abuse or whatever in the future. My big beef is with the people who seem to have the authority to make these judgement calls- most around here are the least experienced, youngest, most naive, and really have no real-life experience when it comes to kids. It's just my pet-peeve I guess after seeing difficult child's teachers, attny;'s, etc.
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Wee had a tendency to hurt small animals, and whe he brought me a maimed chicken that he had beaten on the side of the barn til it was bloody and almost dead and said "its bleeding. I don't know why" and walked off, I was a parent who panicked. He was 3 or 4, and NO ONE cared. "He was just being a boy", they said.

    No, he was just being a boy when he kept taunting th cat til the cat scratched him. Beating a chicken when you've been raised with small animals and taught to be appropriate is NOT 'just being a boy'.

    There have been other instances. They are not common anymore, but it doesn't take away my horror or concern about the things that have already happened.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    In Miami last year a boy mutilated nearly 20 cats - His case is still pending as far as I know. Tyler Weinman.

    My x beat every animal we ever had. :(
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Shari, I can see why you are concerned. In many ways Wee seems very slow to grasp that other people have feelings, much less how his actions impact their feelings. NOT that he isn't loving, but that something in his brain seems to be wired such that it is really hard for him to "get" these ideas.

    I can see it taking quite a few times for him to learn that he cannot make certain moves or do certain things to or near an animal because he might hurt it. He may not be able to connect hitting an animal to the animal dying. If someone hits him he doesn't die, so why would it be different for an animal? Did he throw other things at the barn or beat on the barn with other things? I wonder if he really understood that animals can hurt? Or if he really even understood that the chicken was alive like people are, rather than working like a battery operated toy? Toys don't have feelings so it doesn't matter if you throw them against something. When the toy breaks you get rid of it and get another one. Or more batteries. Chances are that at 3 or 4 he didn't understand the difference between battery operated moving and talking toys and animals that move and make noise. I would see it as part of his other problems.

    I am not 100% sure Wee can link his actions with hurting or killing the animal. His grasp of death may be rather tenuous which would contribute. Even living on a farm and/or raising animals for food doesn't mean he can make the connection easily.

    I hope this says what I am trying to communicate. It is hard to get the idea out of my head through my fingers right now.

    As for hugging a pet to death, I think it happens more often than we know. The child wants to show how much they love the animal by giving it a big hug. When they hug a person the person just hugs them back. They don't understand how easy it is to hurt an animal with-o meaning to. They don't understand that they could "kill" the pet, or even what "kill" means. One of my little cousins did this. He kept expecting to see the cat around the house. A few days later his parents realized he truly didn't have a clue about what happened. So they switched to "breaking" the cat. When toys broke they were gone for good unless the "toy doctor" could help them. Sometimes the doctor couldn't. When he connected what he did to the cat with the idea of a broken toy he was broken hearted.

    I doubt that many experts would see a child hugging a pet to death as a sign of serious problems ahead unless it happened over and over. Or if the child was developmentally delayed or otherwise mentally handicapped.
  11. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I think I understand what your saying Susie, and I agree. He likely didn't get it at that moment, but its the "at that moment" that frightens me...because sometimes he does/did.

    He hasn't hurt an animal in quite a long time, but he will still occassionally have days... He has this foam bat thing...a piece of pvc covered in a thick foam wrap, and we've had occassions where we have to remove it because he'll go after the cats with it for seemingly the pure pleasure of it. Then later, he won't understand why the cats will avoid him...

    There's a wire short circuiting, I'm sure. I just hope its correctable. Cause the chicken still haunts me.