Fatal Dog Beating Prompts PETA Plea for Empathy Lessons in Schools

For Immediate Release:
May 17, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Cleveland, Tenn. – Following reports that a local teen allegedly posted a video online of another boy beating a dog to death with a stick, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—rushed a letter today to Bradley County Schools Director Dr. Linda Cash and Cleveland City Schools Director Dr. Russell Dyer offering to provide the districts with a K–12 kindness-to-animals curriculum and “Empathy Now,” a guide to preventing youth violence against animals.

Tennessee law strongly encourages character education programming “to help students learn to act in harmony with their positive values.” As TeachKind notes in its letter, the group’s curriculum and offer to host free empathy-building virtual presentations would help both districts meet this recommendation.

“If reports are true, a teen beat a vulnerable, trusting dog to death while another filmed it and bragged about it on social media,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “Compassion and empathy can be learned, and TeachKind is on standby to help schools teach young people that violence is wrong, whether the victim is a canine or a classmate.”

TeachKind notes that research shows that 43% of perpetrators of school massacres first committed acts of cruelty against animals—so juvenile animal abusers potentially pose a serious threat to the community at large. The group’s other resources include its free high school social justice curriculum, “Challenging Assumptions,” and its “Share the World” program kit for elementary school students.

PETA has also sent a letter to the Bradley County district attorney, with sentencing recommendations should there be a conviction.

TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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