Child’s Arrest for Allegedly Beating Cat Prompts Call for Humane Education

After Latest Incident of Juvenile Cruelty to Animals, PETA Stresses Need to Teach Compassion in the Classroom

For Immediate Release:
October 21, 2019

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382


Following reports that a 12-year-old admitted to beating a cat and throwing the animal in a dumpster to die, prompting authorities to charge the child with aggravated animal abuse, a felony, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—sent letters this afternoon urging local schools and Metro Nashville Public Schools Interim Director Dr. Adrienne Battle to implement lessons in compassion immediately.

TeachKind notes that this is just the latest incident of juvenile cruelty to animals in the area. In March, a teenager was arrested after reportedly dragging and repeatedly striking his dog; in July 2018, a teenager was charged after allegedly beating her boyfriend’s puppy to death; and in May 2018, a teenager was accused of throwing a rabbit across a room after a video of the incident was reportedly posted on social media.

TeachKind has offered middle and high schools in the district free “Every Living Being Matters: Report Abuse If You See It!” posters and sent elementary schools there its “Share the World” curriculum kits, which include lesson plans that aim to foster empathy for animals and are appropriate for even the youngest learners. The kits also help educators meet the expectations of Tennessee law, which encourages schools to integrate character education into their curriculum.

“Reports of younger and younger students lashing out and attacking animals should alarm anyone concerned about violence in our communities,” says PETA Director of Student Campaigns Rachelle Owen. “TeachKind is urging schools in the area to help prevent anyone else from getting hurt by implementing humane education.”

TeachKind notes that, 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. Its staff is available to send materials to schools, suggest lesson plans, and even host classroom presentations for students via Skype—all for free.

Teachkind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. The group’s letter to Battle is available here. For more information, please visit

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