16-Year-Old Allegedly Sets Cat on Fire, Prompting PETA to Offer Humane Education

PETA's Humane-Education Division Stresses Need for School Policies That Prohibit Cruelty to Animals

For Immediate Release:
October 14, 2015

Contact:
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Bremerton, Wash. – On the heels of reports that surveillance video allegedly captured images of a 16-year-old boy setting a cat on fire behind Bremerton High School, TeachKind—PETA’s humane-education division—rushed a letter to Bremerton area schools and the district superintendent calling on them to implement humane education into the school curriculum and add a prohibition on cruelty to animals to district policies. The cat—who was the companion of a local resident—sustained severe injuries and later had to be euthanized.

In its letter, TeachKind explains that abusing animals can lead to continued antisocial behavior, from further acts of cruelty against animals to bullying, aggression, and violence against humans. TeachKind and PETA—whose mottos read, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—have also sent letters offering free copies of their “Abuse: Report It if You See It” poster to each school in the area in the hope of preventing future abuse.

“All living beings deserve our compassion, and this case is a sad reminder that it’s never too early to start teaching young people kindness,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “As schools across the country face a bullying epidemic, TeachKind is asking Bremerton schools to let students know that all insensitivity to the pain of others is wrong by adding a ban on cruelty to animals to their school policies.”

As TeachKind points out in its letters, many school shooters have a history of abusing animals—making early enforcement action even more crucial. According to leading mental-health professionals and law-enforcement agencies, perpetrators of violent acts against animals are often repeat offenders who pose a serious threat to the community at large. TeachKind’s staff is always available to send materials to schools, suggest lesson plans, and even host classroom presentations with students via Skype—all for free.

TeachKind’s letter to the superintendent of the Bremerton School District is available upon request. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind