Teen’s Alleged Attack of Family’s Dog Prompts Offer of Humane Education

PETA Stresses Need to Teach Anti-Bullying and Compassion in the Classroom—for Whole Community's Sake

For Immediate Release:
May 10, 2016

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Riverside, Ill. – On May 3, a 15-year-old girl in Riverside was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals. According to reports, the teenager told police that she had tried to kill her family’s shih tzu by throwing a baseball bat at the dog for having an accident on the girl’s bed. In response, TeachKind—PETA’s humane-education division—sent letters today to schools in Riverside School District 96 urging them to implement humane education in the classroom and offering free copies of its “Report Abuse When You See It!” poster.

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TeachKind and PETA—whose mottos read, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—have also asked the district superintendents to add a prohibition on cruelty to animals to the district’s policies and to ensure that students know there are serious consequences for hurting animals.

“We’re facing a bullying epidemic, and it shows a dangerous lack of empathy for others when a teenager reacts with violent rage against a defenseless little dog because something doesn’t go her way,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind is calling on schools to teach students to practice kindness to animals and speak up when they see cruelty, no matter who the victim is.”

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

TeachKind’s letters are available upon request. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.

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“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