For Immediate Release:
February 24, 2023
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Dorchester County, S.C. – Following reports that a teenager was caught on a doorbell camera in Ladson throwing a cat against a brick wall and onto a concrete floor—and laughing about it with another teen—PETA’s humane education division, TeachKind, rushed a letter today to local school districts urging superintendents to provide instruction in the humane treatment and protection of animals by using the group’s free resources. These include a K–12 kindness-to-animals curriculum and Empathy Now, a guide to preventing youth violence against animals.
“The cruelty caught in this video illustrates exactly why young people must be taught empathy for animals from an early age,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind’s lessons can help students understand that violence is wrong, whether the victim is a cat or a classmate.”
The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office has reported that the teen who threw the cat was identified and will be charged. The cat, who ran away, was found by a family and brought to a clinic for evaluation and is now being cared for by a foster family. PETA points out that cats are safest when kept indoors to prevent them from being hit by cars, poisoned, infected with fatal diseases, or tortured and killed by cruel people.
Research shows that approximately 43% of perpetrators of school shootings first committed acts of cruelty against animals, usually dogs or cats—so animal abusers potentially pose a serious threat to the community at large.
TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. Its other free resources include a high school social justice curriculum (Challenging Assumptions) and the Share the World program kit for young children.