Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler and David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz. These three men are some of history’s most infamous serial killers, however they have one thing in common; animal cruelty. Dalmer cut the heads off of cats and dogs, DeSalvo shot arrows at animals in crates and Berkowitz poisoned his aunt’s parakeet.
Animal cruelty has a direct link to other violent crimes including violence against people, property crimes, drugs and disorderly conduct offenses. Animal cruelty can be defined as a deliberate abuse or failure to take care of an animal. Which can include acts of beating, shooting, stabbing or setting animals on fire. It also encompasses neglect, which is not giving animals the necessary food, water, shelter or veterinarian care.
People who commit animal cruelty crimes are more likely to be linked to domestic violence crimes.
According to the Humane Society, 71 percent of domestic violence victims report that their abuser also targeted their animal and 88 percent of families, under investigation for child abuse, where found to abuse their pets.
There are other violent crimes that occur in the light of animal abuse, specifically cockfighting and dogfighting. Drug rings and homicides are often closely linked with animal fighting. Also, children who display animal cruelty tendencies are more likely to become at-risk youths.
The National Link Coalition states that, “When children are cruel to animals it is not necessarily an exploratory stage of development; it could be the earliest stages of conduct disorder, a gang initiation ritual, an act of revenge, peer pressure, or a way for an abused child who feels powerless to exert control over his or her own victim and gain a sense of power.”
So the question becomes, what can people do to prevent animal cruelty? Animal cruelty is considered a felony in 43 out of 50 states. The only one way to stop animal cruelty is by reporting it. If someone sees an animal being abused by their owner or any other individual, they should call the police, local officials or local Humane Police Offers at 866-601-SPCA. Through reporting animal cruelty, citizens can not only save an animal, but also create a better environment and community for all.
For more information about animal cruelty and neglect, please visit: www.humanesociety.org