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Does High School Dissection Breed Cat Killers?

Written by PETA | June 17, 2009
huffingtonpost / CC
seal Tyler Hayes Weinman

The mutilation and slaughter of 19 cats in the South Miami-Dade area of Florida has made national news recently. Now that 18-year-old Tyler Weinman has been arrested and charged in connection with the killings, an article published today points out that the accused cat killer participated in classroom dissections last year.

Fearing Weinman might be a danger to himself and/or others, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer has ordered a psychiatric evaluation—and house arrest if Weinman makes bail—noting, “I’m concerned about his safety and the safety of the community.”

Smart woman. After all, most—if not all—notorious serial killers got their start abusing animals (think Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Son of Sam, and the Boston Strangler, just to name a few). Heck, even the main character in Showtime’s popular series Dexter is a serial killer whose first victims were animals.

Parents and educators need to be aware that classroom dissections teach students that it’s OK to be cruel. Schools should instead be teaching students to respect life by teaching anatomy via any of the many humane alternatives that are available. That’s why we’ve written to the principal of Weinman’s school urging him to stop all animal dissections and replace them with non-animal learning methods, which we are offering to provide free of charge. After all, I’m sure he doesn’t want to risk adding any of his students’ faces to the “Most Wanted” lists of criminals who “graduated” from dissecting frogs, rats, and cats to killing and cutting up men, women, and children.

Written by Karin Bennett

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  • Tania Fields says:

    I have noticed that many people have mentioned that having to do a dissection has turn them vegetarians. I am a vegetarian but I am also a Veterinary Technician student and we dissect both rats and cats. I don’t have a problem with this. All the cats my college uses are ones that have been euthanized by the Humane Society that would have been euthanized whether we were going to use them or not. I don’t see an issue in using a cat whose life was ended either way for science to allow me to learn about how to help living cats in the future. I do not enjoy dissections but I feel that it is the best way to learn handson what the inside of a cat looks like and how it works. I am not a murderer I am a vegetarian but I can see the logic in dissections.

  • Marian says:

    To Don Adkins. I think its just wonderful how you’ve managed to take a topic that has almost nothing to do with another topic and somehow combine them. note the sarcasm Abortion is a very lively debate and an important issue. But personally i don’t believe that an animal rights web sight is the place to start campaigning your views on an unrelated topic. Comments are supposed to be people stating their views on the topic at hand. Not to shove their choices down the other peoples throats. If you want to debate abortion then go on a pro life website. Okay? Now lets try and stick to the correct subject shall we?

  • Marian says:

    I am a high school student in my junior year. During my sophomore year i as was everyone else in my class was forced to take biology. During the year we did multiple dissections in that class. Some of the animals were crayfish perch frogs squid piglets and cats. But surprisingly the one i remember the most was the worm dissection simply because when we got it unlike the rest of the animals it was alive. We were then asked to put our worm into a glass of specific chemicals. We were told that the chemicals would “numb” it. I tried to refuse but was threatened with a failing grade. Unwillingly i dropped the worm into the glass and watched as it squirmed around violently at the bottom of the glass. I KNEW that it had felt pain and still feel guilty for it. We were then offered bonus points if we could dissect the worm fast and carefully enough that when we cut open its skin we would be able to see the heart beating still. I was horrified. I spent the rest of the period watching people “play” with their worm after the dissection had ended. They did so by cutting it up into multiple pieces scraping out its organs and more. When i questioned my teacher about the kids lack of respect towards the animal he replied “its already dead”. The rest of the year i had to preform dissections on different kinds of animals. The animals other than the worm came in buckets or sealed in airtight bags.The entire year i asked myself “what exactly is this supposed to teach us?” Dissections are meant to teach children the anatomy of a specific animal something we could just as easily have learned from a diagram in a book. However it also teaches some children that cutting apart animals can be “fun”. This twisted view affects the child’s way of thinking animal is to be treated and in turn the way all living things deserve to be treated. These dissections along with PETA’s documentary film convinced me to become a vegetarian. I have been a vegetarian for seven months now and i consider it to be one of if not the best choice i have ever made. Stop Dissections!

  • Don Adkins says:

    I’m an oddity I suppose in todays latest and greatest society but I don’t believe anyone or any thing should have to suffer torture and death for any reason. How about all of us animal lovers join the “Right to Life” and spare the unborn children from being dissected alive. huh!!!!! That’s torture!

  • erika says:

    They are doing this at Franklin High School in WI! I am so sick about it! I think it is horrible and disgusting!

  • TennyoAkana says:

    I’m sorry but I dissected a pig in 10th grade does that mean I’ll become a killer too? Don’t get me wrong this guy is a sick young man who needs to have his ass kicked by all of those cat owners who lost their precious kitties. If that dude came after my cat he wouldn’t be able to bear children. But I disagree with the part that dissections create killers. It gives an understanding to a student of how the body is and what organs are and how they function. Without these dissections we wouldn’t have Vets to save our precious pets since they learn through dissection. Even doctors who are in charge of saving us learn through dissection. It’s a part of the learning process for high school and college students. So please don’t assume that because students have dissected an animal that would make them an animal killer. The fact that this jerk above dissected an animal is two separate issues. He’s a sick person and needs help ASAP or he’ll probably kill a human sooner or later.

  • Shawna Flavell says:

    Jordan Bailey We’ll be emailing you very soon. In the meantime you should totally check out our new TeachKind Web page. It’s full of alternatives to animal dissection httpteachkind.orghumanescidissection.asp.

  • Jordan Bailey says:

    In my 11th grade anatomy class one of our labs is to disect a cat. Im a vegetarian and disagree with any type of cruelty to animals. I was recently reading a book about the spirituality of being a vegetarian and in some states people have the right to refuse disection. I personally beleive that this should be a federal law. Not everyone thinks its ok to be cruel.

  • Andrea says:

    We were suppose to dissect a cat in high school. But due to me “littering” the school with posters on how our school supports animal curelty kinda put a stop to it…little did I know there was already a dissected cat from another classroom prior to this and was put on display in a cabnet. Again the school got littered with posters only this time I had the help of classmates. But I don’t believe dissection can lead to violence. Yes it is wrong but maybe this does go farther then the lab project…

  • Margarita says:

    It would be a disservice to justice if this guy would walk out with just a slap on the wrist after the torture that he submitted the cats to. And he is a potential serial killer by not being able to show sensitivity towards other beings pain.

  • Shawna Flavell says:

    Hey everyone if you left a comment on this blog that isn’t posted we might have felt your comment deserved a more personal response directly from PETA. Thanks for all your feedback and you should be hearing from us shortly.

  • N. says:

    I don’t think that dissection is acceptable but this seems a bit exaggerated. I definitely don’t approve of animals being killed so that students can see the inside of something. There really are a bunch of other alternatives to this senseless killing. But somehow I don’t think dissecting animals leads to homicide.

  • Jacqueline says:

    This guy has a horible smug face i do believe that your values start from the home if you are brought up respecting animals it carries through to your teens to adult. It shocks me to think that schools and colleges allow students to dissect animals we are at our most vunerable and impressionable when young it increases the chance of young boys going around torturing animals. There is no educated means from disecting animals.

  • julie L Friel says:

    I live in the neighborhood that Mr. Weinman has terrorized. I worried for my pets safety daily. Today I read that the High School that he attended permited the disection of cats. I was shocked! I am curious if this occurs at other schools. I appreciate PETAs letter to the principle of Palmetto High School. I will also be sending the proncipal a letter. Another letter will be sent to the superintendent of Miami Dade Public Schools. If anyone else is intrested then I have listed various numbers and emails below. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho EMAIL superintendentsofficedadeschools.net PHONE 3059951430 cheers jules

  • Alicia says:

    He actually does look evil in that picture. And he really has a smug look like that he “thinks” he won’t get in trouble for all that he has done. But I do agree pictures and diagrams work just as well. My friend just bought a dissection kit for her 10 year old. ALL PLASTIC but I couldn’t believe how real it looked and how acurrate it was. If you need to learn that is they way to go. But the actual dissection isn’t his problem he just isn’t playing with a full deck. Maybe the dissection was what brought it out but if it wasn’t that it just would have been something else. Not only has he been stopped from brutally killing cats but I would bet a million bucks if i had it that with him in jail someone’s life has been saved. Maybe more than one.

  • Carla says:

    There is nothing to be learned from dissections. Nothing! It is cruel and barbaric. This kid needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law because as far as I am concerned he is a mental case and should be evaluated!!!!!

  • bomias says:

    Umm you do understand that there is a difference between causation and correlation don’t you? From the info provided there appears simply to be a correlation between his behavior and having participated in dissections.

  • Meg says:

    When i was in school we never disected animals jsut parts of them. we did a heart in college and an cow’s eye in highschool… they were from the local butcher. It sickens me that people would grab animals off the street to dissect and i must say i saw no real advantage in dissecting something i would have learned just as much from looking a pictures and diagrams if not more instead of having everyone making jokes or vomiting. It was a distraction more than a lesson.

  • Tamra says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some other clues beforehand that this young man’s behavior was questionable. If that were the case he should have never been allowed to participate in the dissections. I’m not saying I agree with dissections but being around the HS element I know that only mature and honor roll students are allowed to participate in dissections. Although it may seem a contradiction they were taught to be respectful of all animals alive or dead. If they showed the slightest inappropriate behavior they were removed from the activity permanently. I think these types of characters have something lacking altogether in spite of the dissections.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Study after study verify that people who violently harm or kill animals are very likely to commit harm to humans. It’s inevitable. This cat serial killer is a vicious degenerate and a terrorist.

  • michelle says:

    I am disgusting that such a disturbed individual can get out on bail. He should be kept off our streets away from humans and animals. I’m looking for PETA to help the average citizen make our voice heardespecially during his trial and at sentencing.

  • Pepsi One is Fun says:

    I’m against dissection but at the same time I haven’t killed my loveable kittens just because I dissected a frog for 10 grade biology. Why my other post didn’t get approved for posting I’ll apparently not understand

  • Denise says:

    I dissected a cat in med school. I can admit it made me kind of sad since I had to take apart a cat that looked just like mine. I had asked my instructor where they had come from and they had told me that they were donated by their owners if they were euthanized and even some euthanized strays. I actually didn’t know about the abuse that these animals have to go through perfectly healthy cats before they end up on the dissection table. Makes me actually want to cry and I know I will never do that again if asked to.

  • drew says:

    So society and the law are against what this person is accused of but meanwhile people who work for companies and universities can torture cats and other beings to death pumping poisonous chemicals into them and burning their eyes with chemicals and breaking their legs and backs and all kinds of tremendous tortures and horrible cruelties but those people are protected. This whole nation subjects billions of beings to horrific tortures and murders and imports torture products from other nations as well to fill our stores. And what about all the people who for “fun” go and shoot innocent beings like deer with no care about what their victims experience huh? Those people are guilty of what they make their victims experience. This one person should not be singled out by society without those others.

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