Experts Warn That Kids Who Torment Animals Often 'Graduate' to Fellow Humans
For Immediate Release:
April 23, 2014
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382
Christiana, Tenn. – Following reports that a 16-year-old boy in Christiana, Tenn., admitted to killing his family’s dog—who reportedly sustained stab wounds, head trauma, and bleeding and whose body was apparently hidden inside a tub in a storage barn at the boy’s home—PETA’s educational division, TeachKind, sent a letter today offering copies of the group’s “Abuse: Report It If You See It” posters to each of the schools in the Rutherford County Schools district 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.”
“People of any age who harm animals are a threat to society,” says Whitney Calk, a Murfreesboro resident and PETA’s assistant manager of youth marketing. “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.
PETA’s letter to Rutherford County Schools follows.
Dear Principal Bob Horne:
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, so we were disturbed by recent news of a 16-year-old Christiana boy who allegedly tortured and killed his family’s dog before hiding the body inside a storage barn. Thankfully, local officials are taking this case seriously, and the suspect has reportedly been charged with a felony. 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 many school shooters, “began” by abusing 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 visit your school to host free classroom presentations. 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 Tennessee, we thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.
TeachKind Coordinator, PETA