Experts Warn That Kids Who Torment Animals Often 'Graduate' to Fellow Humans
For Immediate Release:
April 28, 2014
Shakira Croce 202-483-7382
Trinidad – Following reports that three Trinidad teenagers have been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly shooting a llama named Sally with an arrow, slitting her throat, and posting photos of themselves posing with her dead body on social media, PETA’s educational division, TeachKind, is taking action. This morning, the group is sending letters to the schools in and around Trinidad offering to help them implement humane-education lessons and to rush them copies of its “Abuse: Report It If You See It” posters in the hope of preventing similar incidents.
The posters show a chained, cowering dog next to insulting phrases such as “Shut Up,” “Stupid,” and “Dumb Dog” and go on to explain the link between animal abuse and violence directed toward humans, concluding with the words “Bullies Are Cowards—Don’t Be Afraid to Report Them.” If convicted of aggravated animal cruelty, the teens face up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.
“People of any age who harm animals are a threat to society,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind’s poster urges kids to go to their parents, their teachers, or the police to report cruelty to animals the moment it occurs—for everyone’s sake.”
For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.
TeachKind’s letter to Trinidad-area schools follows.
My name is Nina, and I’m writing from TeachKind, PETA’s humane-education division. We work with hundreds of teachers nationwide to bring compassion to the classroom. We have heard from members of the Trinidad community who have been deeply upset by reports that several area youths are alleged to have sadistically killed a llama named Sally and then posted photos of themselves on Facebook posing with her dead body along with the caption “We are open for hire.” Local officials are wisely taking this case seriously. As you may know, medical experts and top law-enforcement officials agree: The link between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence is undeniable. In fact, the FBI uses reports of animal abuse while gauging the threat potential of suspected and known criminals, and the American Psychiatric Association identifies it as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders. Many serial murderers, including school shooters, “began” with animals, and animal abuse often coincides with domestic violence.
The prevention of violence can start in the classroom if students are taught to have empathy for all beings. Might you consider incorporating humane education into your curriculum? That way, you’d have a chance to reach kids before they ever lash out violently. TeachKind is here to help! I would love to send your school a free anti-violence poster from our youth division, peta2. The poster encourages students to report cruelty to animals whenever they discover it for everyone’s sake—and displaying it in a prominent location could help save a life. Our staff is always available to send free materials, suggest free lesson plans from TeachKind.org, and even host free classroom presentations with your students via Skype. We’re here to assist you in any way that we can in order to ensure that your efforts to teach kindness are successful.
On behalf of our more than 3 million members and supporters globally, thousands of whom proudly reside in Colorado, we thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.
TeachKind Coordinator, PETA