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It’s a Fact: Most Violent Offenders Victimize Animals, Then Humans

Written by PETA | December 22, 2009

We know that the Boston Strangler did it. So did Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Like so many others, all these serial killers tortured animals before “graduating” to humans.

That link has raised suspicions about an Oklahoma teen, Nikolas Kerr, who is accused of torturing and killing a 2-month-old kitten. A witness claims that she saw Kerr set the kitten on fire, repeatedly slam the tiny animal into a piece of furniture, and swing the cat by the tail. When asked why he did it, Kerr allegedly said, “‘Cause I’m a sociopath.” Those actions and words have piqued the interest of prosecutors who are trying to determine the extent of Kerr’s involvement in the death of a homeless man known as “Bicycle Bob.”

The link between violence against animals and violence against humans is well-established: It’s why PETA developed a special booklet for law enforcement officials and prosecutors. It’s also why actor Julie Benz—who played the wife of a serial killer who killed animals before moving on to people on Showtime’s hit show Dexter—spoke out in a PETA public service announcement. And it’s why we always urge anyone who knows of a violent crime against an animal to report it to authorities, pronto.


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Written by Karin Bennett

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  • Jason says:

    Actually Hitler’s most renowned biographer talked about how his vegetarianism was made up as part of his imageit was meant to send a message about how strongwilled he was. I believe his communications people also said he abstained from alcohol and sex.

  • DAVID says:

    perhaps that is true. yet if every manwomanand child that hunted would be a threat to a mass murder. i dont want this to be interpreted to be hate mail. if you look at the numbers of hunters to serial killers or murderers this article would be completely irrelevant. i firmly believe that the reason they started with animals was because they had a mental disorder that caused them to prey on the weak. much like an animal of the wild would do. jeffrey dohmer for instance he started with animals and yet he ate the bodies of his victims. is that not a good example of mental disorder vs animal instinct. all im saying is you cant premeditate all hunters for future killers of mankind

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    David There’s a good article on Hitler’s supposed vegetarianism on Wiki httpen.wikipedia.orgwikiVegetarianismofAdolfHitler “Reports state that Hitler occasionally ate meat during the 1930s. While Hitler reduced his meat consumption he may have not eliminated it entirely with culinary accounts indicating a sporadic preference for sausage squab liver dumplings ham and caviar.” “Dione Lucas a European chef was an eyewitness to Hitler’s meateating. In her Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook 1964 Lucas drawing on her experiences as a hotel chef in Hamburg during the 1930s remembered being called upon quite often to prepare Hitler’s favorite dish which was not a vegetarian one. “I do not mean to spoil your appetite for stuffed squab” she writes “but you might be interested to know that it was a great favorite with Mr. Hitler who dined at the hotel often.” There is no such thing as a vegetarian who eats meat.

  • Kurt K says:

    Sorry Susan T Kick his butt then send him to an institution that can meet his mental health needs. Or is that too harsh?

  • Mel says:

    Susan you’re missing the point Kurt said he did it but then felt remorse. I would shudder to think that you and others here had such a sheltered life that you didn’t learn and make mistakes. However comments like the one you made only show to me that you really truly have had more sheltered lives in the city than anything.

  • Susan T says:

    Quote For the record the kid who burned the cat needs to get his a kicked. Kurt is that all you can offer? Nikolas Kerr is right when he describes himself as a sociopath but kicking his butt is NOT going to address his extremely disturbed mind. Frankly he needs to be put in an institution where he is no threat to humans or animals. I believe in human rights but when it comes to such behavior it is no longer a question of violating someone’s rights. He has no “right” to live in a civilized society. He needs to be removed for a very long time. As for you and your friends who loved to blast birds out of thes sky when you were “kids”I ask…what did your parents teach you? Frankly if you would have been taught empathy and kindness at an early age that behavior would never have reared its ugly head. Animal cruelty and violence to humans is an INDISPUTABLE link. If you care you need to look further. There are volumes of information proving it. Margaret Mead the late anthropologist once said that “the most dangerous thing that can happen to a child is for himher to torture or kill an animal and get away with it.” You are simply not convincing.

  • carla says:

    Let me tell you something.. If I EVER see anyone abusing an animal… They WILL pay the consequences .. and it won’t be pretty!!!!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I think young Nikolas needs to be placed in a mental institution for the protection of those who might otherwise come in contact with him. If he asks why he is being placed there he can be told it is because he is a sociopath. In most states the requirements for psychiatric commitment are The person is a danger to himself a danger to others or is destructive of property. In my view Nikolas fills all of these requirements.

  • Jasmine Vaught says:

    What I want to know is why the witness watched this kid set a kitten on fire not once but twice and swing it into furniture and did not stop him or call the cops or or??????

  • Kurt K says:

    Brien Indisputable? I think you are getting ahead of yourself. True most serial killers where cruel to animals in some shape or form. I am not denying that fact. Actually I will 100 agree with it. However just because every serial killer harmed animals that doesn’t mean that every kid who harms animals is going to become a serial killer. When I was kid my neighbor and I would take our BB guns to the nearest woods and shot as many birds as we could see for a couple summers. Eventually we realized that was very unecessary and we stopped. I am happy to report that neither one of us have killed tortured or even harmed a fellow human and I am 99.99 sure we never will. You need to stop speaking in absolutes it just isn’t healthy. For the record the kid who burned the cat needs to get his a kicked.

  • David says:

    Ashley Actually hitler loved animals and was a vegetarian too! Though this situation is still true MOST violent abuses victimize animals.

  • ashley kennemer says:

    hwo would set a poor kitten on fire…..i’m starting to think hitler tortured animals..but thats just not right

  • Brien Comerford says:

    It’s an indisputable scientific fact that the majority of people who are cruel to animals eventually perpetrate violence against humans. That’s why sages like Kant and Gandhi and Abe Lincoln thought a person’s character could be judged by the way they treat animals.