Running head: ANIMAL ABUSE AND ADULT VIOLENCE Animal Abuse and Adult Violence Barbara Acosta University of Phoenix ESSENTIALS OF COLLEGE WRITING COMM/215 SC08ELEC10 KIMBERLY KEILBACH December 18, 2008 Animal Abuse and Adult Violence Jeffery Dahmer, Albert Desalvo, Ted Bundy, and animal abusing children may have more in common than some may think. There is a fine line between an animal abuser and someone capable of harming a human being. Many studies show that most rapist, killers, child abusers, and murderers have a past of harming animals because they feel they have control over them.
These disturbed individuals abuse animals for the same reason they would abuse people. Albert Schweitzer wrote, “Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the ideas of worthless human lives. ”(Love, 2005) What is cruelty? Cruelty is defined as a deliberate infliction of pain and suffering (“Cruelty”, n. d. ). Many times these acts of cruelty are due to ignorance or the fact that the owners simply do not care. The most common type of animal cruelty is neglect or abandonment.
This occurs when the owner does not provide their pets with food, water, shelter or proper veterinary care. These animals who suffer this type of cruelty often die a slow agonizing death because they are malnourished, dehydrated, or have diseases that go untreated. Other types of cruelty are animal fighting, hoarding, poisoning, shooting, and bestiality (Gianotto, 2001-2008). Time and time again these acts of cruelty go unpunished because the authorities have more important crimes against people to worry about.
With so many studies linking animal abuse to future violent crimes these acts of torture to animals should be taken more seriously. In 1994 a report released by the National Research Council states that “early intervention is more likely to reduce adult crime than criminal sanctions applied later in life” (Pawprints and Purrs, Inc [PPI], 1997-2008). In 1997, a study by the MSPCA and Northern University found that “70% of animal abusers had committed at least one other criminal offense and almost 40% had committed violent crimes against people” (PPI).
California has made animal cruelty a felony since 1988, and carries a maximum jail term of three years with a maximum fine of $20,000 dollars (Gianotto, 2001-2008). There are numerous reasons why people abuse animals and they are divided into two categories passive cruelty and active cruelty. Passive cruelty occurs when the owner does not care for their animal by depriving them of food, shelter, or veterinary care (Gianotto, 2001-2008). Even though they are not physically hurting the animal it still goes through severe pain and suffering.
Animal officials will often give the owners one chance to nourish their pet back to health, if not done so in a reasonable amount of time the animal will be seized. Often, it is too late for the animal; unfortunately, the animal would then have to be euthanized. Active cruelty occurs when the individual purposely harms the animal for joy (Gianotto). This type of abuse is the most alarming and should definitely raise a red flag. Acts of Intentional abuse is sign of psychological problems and should not be shrugged off by anyone.
These acts of abuse towards animals will happen in violent homes where the offender will threaten other family members into killing the family pet, or threaten to kill in order to intimidate family members into sexual abuse. Another reason why these acts of abuse towards animals happen is because the person feels pleasure out of harming a helpless animal, just like the person gets pleasure out of harming a helpless victim. If only the authorities had paid attention to these animal abusers, maybe their violent crimes could have been prevented.
Dennis Rader, also known as the BTK killer killed animals for practice and later went on and killed at least 10 people (National District Attorneys Association [NDAA], 2006). Jeffrey Dahmer was known to have impaled on stakes in his yard with the heads of cats and dogs he had killed (NDAA). He was imprisoned for killing, mutilating, and occasionally eating 17 men. Ted Bundy admitted killing animals when he was young (NDAA). He is a well-known serial killer of perhaps as many as 40 women.
Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler killed 13 women. As a child Albert would put dogs and cats in crates and shoot arrows through the slots till the animal died (NDAA). This is just a small list of killers linked to animal abuse. Children who abuse animals are not just kids being kids it’s a serious sign of mental health problems and should be dealt with immediately. Unfortunately, many of these cases are overlooked. When acts of animal cruelty are known or suspected they should be reported to the proper authorities.
Instead of ignoring these “small crimes” action should be taken by penalizing the perpetrator, examining families and serious psychological counseling. There are many programs and people out there designed to help families in need. One such program is called Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) there mission is to “prevent cruelty to animals and promote the quality of life of all creatures through rescue, protection, placement, education, leadership and good example”(Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [SPCA], 2006).
Pets and Women’s Shelters (PAWS) is another program that has locations across the country to enhance the safety of as many victims as possible. PAWS enable victims to leave their abusive household and not leave their pets behind. Veterinarians are also playing a larger role in reporting abuses of all kinds. Vets are learning to look for warning signs in pets and report them if anything seems suspicious. In conclusion; man’s best friend is the cute, cuddly animal, the companion in all our homes enduring a fate no living creature should suffer.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals” (Love, 2005). If society pays attention to children who perform these acts of cruelty on animals and takes immediate action to stop their behavior, future crimes could be prevented and lives could be saved. References Cruelty. (n. d. ). In The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved July 13, 2008, from http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/cruelty Gianotto, A. (2001-2008). Animal Cruelty. Retrieved July 13, 2008, from http://www. et-abuse. com/pages/animal_cruelty. php Love, N. S. (2005). Animal Quotes. Retrieved July 13, 2008, from http://www. nansealove. com/Quotes. html National District Attorneys Association (2006). Cruelty to Animals – Talking Points. Retrieved July 13, 2008, from http://www. ndaa-apri. org Pawprints and Purrs, Inc (1997-2008). Animal Cruelty Points to Potential Violence Against Humans. Retrieved July 13, 2008, from http://www. sniksnak. com Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (2006). . Retrieved July 13, 2008, from http://www. ccspca. com/