Group Warns That Kids Who Torment Animals Often ‘Graduate’ to Fellow Humans
For Immediate Release:
November 5, 2013
Shakira Croce 202-483-7382
Grand Prairie, Texas – Following reports that 17-year-old Oscar Vega admitted to hitting his neighbor’s cat in the head 30 times before decapitating and eviscerating the animal, PETA’s educational division, TeachKind, sent a letter accompanied by the group’s “Abuse: Report It If You See It” posters to each of the schools in Grand Prairie in the hope of preventing future similar incidents. The posters show a chained, cowering dog next to insulting phrases such as “Shut Up,” “Stupid,” and “Dumb Dog” and goes 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 found guilty, Vega could face up to 10 years in prison.
“People of any age who harm animals are a threat to society, and Grand Prairie authorities must send a strong message to kids that there are consequences for hurting and killing animals,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “Kids need to be taught to go to their parents, their teachers, or the police to report cruelty to animals the moment it occurs—for everyone’s sake.”
In its letter, PETA points out that criminal-profile studies show that many people who are violent toward animals in their youth grow up to commit violent crimes against humans—making early enforcement action even more crucial. 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. According to a study conducted by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against other people. Many serial killers and school shooters started out by abusing animals. The FBI uses reports of animal abuse to gauge the threat potential of suspected and known criminals.
PETA’s letter is available upon request. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.