Teen’s Arrest or Throwing Cat Prompts Offer of Humane Education

After Video of Abuse Hits Social Media, PETA Stresses Need to Teach Anti-Bullying and Compassion in the Classroom

For Immediate Release:
December 6, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Ontario, Calif. – San Bernardino authorities reportedly arrested a 16-year-old boy on Monday on suspicion of felony animal abuse after a video posted to Snapchat apparently showed him throwing a cat high into the air and onto a street, prompting TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—to send letters today to schools in the area urging them to implement humane education. The cat reportedly sustained a fractured leg and is receiving treatment.

TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—has asked the district superintendent to ensure that students know to report cruelty to animals when they see it. The group has also offered the high schools and middle schools free “Bullies Are Just Cowards: Report Abuse When You See It!” posters and sent elementary schools its Share the World curriculum kits, which are appropriate for even the youngest learners. They also help schools comply with California’s character-education mandate, which requires that schools incorporate lessons on kindness toward companion animals.

“We’re facing a bullying epidemic, so when a teen hurls a cat into the air and breaks the animal’s leg, it’s a huge cause for concern,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind is urging schools to help prevent incidents of animal abuse by teaching kids to respect others.”

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

The group’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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 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