Cases of Young People Abusing Animals Prompt PETA to Place Anti-Bullying Billboard Near Local Schools

For Immediate Release:
April 20, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Philadelphia – Following multiple Pennsylvania cruelty-to-animals cases involving minors—including a group of children who reportedly threw bleach in a dog’s face in the Wissinoming neighborhood—PETA’s humane education division, TeachKind, has placed a sky-high message at Woodland Avenue and S. 57th Street, close to several local schools, reminding people that animals are victims of bullying, too, and urging everyone to report abuse to authorities.

“Animals depend on us to look out for them and protect them from those who would do them harm,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind is reminding students, school staff, and parents to always speak up if they see an animal being abused.”

After the bleach incident in November and other cruelty-to-animals cases in the city—such as one in which a 12-year-old and a 17-year-old reportedly forced dogs to attack and nearly kill a cat—TeachKind rushed urgent kindness-to-animals curricula and Empathy Now, a guide to preventing violence by young people, to the School District of Philadelphia.

Sandy Hook Promise lists cruelty to animals on its “10 Critical Warning Signs of Violence” list, and research shows that approximately 43% of perpetrators of school shootings first committed acts of cruelty to animals—so animal abusers potentially pose a serious threat to communities at large. TeachKind resources can be easily integrated into school districts’ existing curricula to help prevent future violence.

TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. Its other free resources include a high school social justice curriculum (Challenging Assumptions) and the Share the World program kit for young children.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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