What is animal cruelty?
Animal cruelty encompasses a variety of behaviours harmful to animals, ranging from neglect to malicious torture and killing. Most cases involve unintentional neglect; which is often due to the lack of education of animal owners or caretakers. Unlike unintentional neglect, intentional cruelty can be either willful or reckless.
Why is animal cruelty important?
Deliberate cruelty to animals is a form of violence. Besides being harmful to a living creature capable of suffering and feeling pain, intentional animal cruelty can be one of the earliest and most dramatic indicators that an individual is developing a pattern of seeking power and control by inflicting suffering on others.
Is there a link between cruelty to animals and human violence?
Yes. Many studies in Canada and the U.S. have demonstrated a connection between animal cruelty and human violence.
*Family pets are often targets in domestic violence, and threats of violence toward a pet are often used as a means of control by an abusive spouse.
*Many victims of domestic violence remain in an abusive situation out of concern for the safety of their pet.
How does animal cruelty fit the profile of violent criminals?
In the United States, the FBI identifies animal cruelty as one of a cluster of juvenile behaviours associated with increasingly violent behavior. The FBI has recognized this connection in serial killers suggesting that most, as children, had killed or tortured animals. Other research has shown consistent patterns of more common forms of violence, including child abuse, spousal abuse, and elder abuse.
Why is it important to address animal cruelty by children?
Children who are allowed to harm animals without penalty are more likely to commit violent acts later in life. Children who abuse animals are more likely to be involved in bullying, vandalism, and more serious crimes.
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