Our very recent post of child animal killers:
Lets play ‘spot the link’ –
Violent acts towards animals have long been recognised as indicators of a dangerous psychopathology that does not confine itself to animals. “Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives”, wrote humanitarian Dr Albert Schweitzer.
Robert K Ressler, who developed profiles of serial killers for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), states, “Murderers … very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids”. Studies have now convinced sociologists, lawmakers and the courts that acts of cruelty to animals deserve our attention.
They can be the first sign of a dangerous pathology that threatens humans as well.
Animal abuse is not just the result of a minor personality flaw in the abuser but rather a symptom of a deep mental disturbance. Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there; many of them move on to their fellow humans.
The FBI has found that a history of cruelty to animals regularly appears in the backgrounds of serial rapists and murderers, and the standard diagnostic and treatment manual for psychiatric and emotional disorders lists cruelty to animals as a diagnostic criterion for conduct disorders.
A study conducted in the US by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA found that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against humans. The majority of inmates on death row in California’s San Quentin State Prison “practiced” their crimes on animals, according to the prison’s warden.
- As a child, serial killer and rapist Ted Bundy – who was convicted of two murders but was suspected of actually killing more than 40 women – witnessed his father’s violence towards animals, and he himself later tortured animals.
- Earl Kenneth Shriner, who raped and stabbed a 7-year-old boy, was known in his neighbourhood for hanging cats and torturing dogs.
- David Berkowitz (aka the Son of Sam), who pleaded guilty to 13 murder and attempted murder charges, once shot a neighbour’s Labrador retriever.
- Brenda Spencer, who opened fire at a California school, killing two children and injuring nine others, had repeatedly abused cats and dogs, often setting their tails on fire.
- Serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer impaled the heads of dogs and cats on sticks.
Suspected US High School Shooter Has Reported History of Animal Abuse
Stephanie Bell, senior director of cruelty casework at PETA US, has commented in response to reports that the suspected gunman in the tragic Florida high school shooting previously used animals for target practice:
It is no surprise to PETA that before he allegedly massacred 17 people at a school in Parkland, Florida, Nikolas Cruz is said to have talked about shooting small animals, including lizards, squirrels, frogs, and a neighbor’s chickens, and reportedly sent his dog to a neighbor’s house to attack the pigs there.
The FBI has identified cruelty to animals as a warning sign of more violence to come, and many school shooters and serial killers have a history of abusing animals. While the issues of gun control and mental health rage on, one simple way to prevent future acts of violence are for local law-enforcement officials to pursue the strongest penalties possible in cruelty-to-animals cases – for everyone’s sake – and for those who hear about or witness animal abuse to report it.
The FBI is the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is roughly equivalent to India’s Central Bureau of Investigation.
Predictably, the man who killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others at a country-music festival in Las Vegas last year had a history of violence against animals, too. In India, the notorious Veerappan was both a poacher and a serial killer, and the Noida serial murders of children occurred at the home of Moninder Singh Pandher, who was fond of hunting. And they weren’t the only ones who hurt animals before moving on to hurting humans – so, too, did all the serial killers listed here and many others.