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Animal cruelty is escalating across the Country.   Although all States have defined animal cruelty as a Felony, the penalties are still of a misdemeanor caliber, even dropped (most often a Lesser & Included offense which makes it a misdemeanor). In all 50 States, animal cruelty is not seen as serious; this laxness gravely compromises our safety.

Cruelty to Animals and Antisocial Personality Disorder: Criminological and Forensic Correlations     

In Session Submission: Mental Disorder and Victimization


Animal mistreatment is often related to affective and link disorders within interpersonal relationships concerning underage people whose lack of empathy and remorse, associated with behavior disorders, are personality traits which imply probable violence in adulthood (Ascione, 2001). In our study fifty adult forensic cases (49 men, average age 34), in which there’s a history of animal mistreatment as an independent variable, and the dependent variables are: (a) crime committed (violent/ non-violent); (b) presence or not of two dimensional psychopathy factors (PCL:SV; Hare 1985), and APD (DSM-IV-TR); (c) McDonald triad (cruelty to animals, pyromania, night urinary incontinence) and Pincus triad (child abuse, brain injury, paranoid ideation), and (d) kind of animal mistreatment in childhood-adolescence. The results show a 70% violent crimes in batterers of animals as the cause of their prosecution (56% in their crime history), a clearly antisocial profile (APD) or factor 2 of psychopathy (rather than nuclear psychopathy), with a McDonald triad prevalence of 48% and 30% of Pincus triad. These results show the need to assess the possible childhood and adolescence cruelty to animals in individuals whose violent behavior include crime in adulthood.

Animal cruelty is escalating across the country. Like many other States-as animal cruelty is not taken seriously and treated like a misdemeanor-it appears Pennsylvania citizens has a new hobby: Torturing pets to death.  However, due to lax animal cruelty laws, Pennsylvania is not the only one with such a problem.  Please learn from this: Strengthen animal cruelty laws to ensure a safer society; what people do to animals they will likewise to do children and adults.

Cuddles was the latest in a string of cruelty victims in the area. The kitten died on October 6, 2009.  In July, a stray orange tabby was set ablaze in Darby and died of her injuries.">

Cuddly kitten, stoned & burned, dies in 'atrocious act of cruelty'

Philadelphia Daily News

Even after a 6-week-old kitten was pelted with stones and set on fire in a Chester alley Saturday afternoon, it didn't lash out. The brown tabby greeted Dave Schlott, a Delaware County animal control officer, by climbing up his shirt and snuggling against his neck. "It was cuddling, so I thought I'd name it Cuddles," Schlott said. "It was a really, really good-natured kitten."

Last month, a cat was found wrapped in duct tape like a mummy, in North Philadelphia and left to die. That cat was named "Sticky".

"The following week, a school bus driver was charged with misdemeanor animal-cruelty counts for tossing kittens out of a bus in Port Richmond."

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People who abuse and torture animals are clearly psychopaths. I've seen homeless people beaten up, kicked, bloodied-you know those thugs kicked cats for fun. Animal cruelty, especially cat/kitten abuse, is especially linked with rape and sexual assault because cats have this "female" connection whereas dogs are more "masculine". I don't know if this is psychological or what, but people who torture and kill the PUSSY cat-will do the same to women. See what I's all about power and domination and enjoyment of HURTING, even killing, a helpless creature. "Pussy" cat and the derogatory word used for female genitalia is not an accidental label. Now think about that. THUGS who torture and kill cats-next it could be your daughter or women. But you better believe it-cats and kittens will be the FIRST victims.

When people take delight torturing animals demonstrates deviant behavior and high at risk for violent crime, domestic violence, even murder and serial killing; such individuals often abuse children. It must be clear when one abuses an animal-they will go to jail. People get away with what society allows them to get away with. Further, adults will teach their children to abuse animals and they will grow up thinking this is "normal" thus perpetuating violence and crime in America.

The Connection Between Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty
How is Animal Abuse Related to Domestic Violence?

In recent years, a strong connection has been documented linking animal abuse and domestic violence. A New Jersey study found that in 88 percent of families where there had been physical abuse of children, there were also records of animal abuse. In Wisconsin, battered women revealed that in four out of five cases, abusive partners had also been violent toward pets or livestock. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence conducted its own study in which 85.4 percent of women and 63.0 percent of children reported incidents of pet abuse after arriving at domestic violence shelters. The Chicago Police Department's Domestic Violence Program took a look at the criminal histories of animal fighting/animal abuse arrestees for 2000-2001 and found that approximately 30 percent had domestic violence charges on their records. There is legitimate evidence that the individuals involved in violent acts against animals present a danger to the public that must be addressed. Intentional animal abuse is often seen in association with other serious crimes including drug offenses, gang activity, weapons violations, sexual assault and domestic violence—and can be one of the most visible parts of an entire history of aggressive or antisocial behavior.

Why do Abusers Batter Animals?

    * To demonstrate power and control over the family
    * To isolate the victim and children
    * To enforce submission
    * To perpetuate an environment of fear
    * To prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her to return
    * To punish for leaving or showing independence


"Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz and Jeffrey Dahmer have more in common than just being serial killers. These three murderers are also connected by the fact that each of them tortured and/or killed animals during their childhoods. "Researchers as well as FBI and other law enforcement agencies nationwide have linked animal cruelty to domestic violence, child abuse, serial killings and to the recent rash of killings by school age children", says Dr. Randall Lockwood (vice president of training and initiatives for the Humane Society of the United States.

Some children are cruel to and torture animals to impress their peers, but future serial killers usually torture animals purely for their own enjoyment. Animal abuse is a recognized sign of a mental disorder. If a child hurts animals it should be a red flag and immediate action should be taken. While there are many factors that contribute to someone becoming a serial killer, the one constant they share is animal abuse.

Jeffrey Dahmer showed an intense interest in dismembering animals as a child. As an adult he was charged with murdering and dismembering at least sixteen people."">

The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 30:257–65, 2002

"A history of animal cruelty during childhood was significantly associated with APD [Antisocial Personality Disorder], antisocial personality traits, and polysubstance abuse. Mental retardation, psychotic disorders, and alcohol abuse showed no such association."

The United States of America is an extremely violent nation">

Gunshot wounds: "Each year, approximately 30,000 to 50,000 Americans are killed secondary to gunshot wounds. This upper range nearly equals the number of fatalities (59,021) sustained during the 12 years (1961 to 1973) of the Vietnam war. (1) In 2003, the last year for which these statistics are available, 30,136 persons were fatally wounded by firearms, representing 18.4% of all injury-related fatalities."">

Just last year, 16,272 Americans were murdered in USA-in one year. 1,382,012 individuals suffered violent crime; 89,000 individuals were victims of forceful rape. Last year, 304,059,724 populated the United States and 11,149,927 were the victims of some forceful traumatizing and/or lethal crime.


"Authorities estimate that there are between 35-50 serial killers on the loose in the United States-and new reports of suspected killers are constantly surfacing all over the globe." According to an FBI Behavioral Unit study 85% of the world's serial killers are in America.

Though Pennsylvania has some felony provisions, such penalties are far from sufficient and is no stronger than a misdemeanor; in most cases, felony charges *are* reduced to misdemeanors - i.e., a slap on the wrist.

MANY STATES have similar lax punishments. Whatever provision our State has, please consider strengthening them. Please let our State become a role model addressing animal cruelty with improved laws. 

"The greatness of a nation, and its moral progress is measured by the way its animals are treated" - Ghandi

For a safer America, please make animal cruelty laws stiffer. Please model laws with stiffer penalties, fines. Clearly people who are cruel to animals are dangerous in our society.

Just a few States have commendable animal cruelty laws; however, *all* of them would benefit making penalties tougher due to the animal abuse and violent crime propensity link.   About 33 states and the District of Columbia now have laws that make certain types of animal cruelty a felony offense; however, even felony laws are often treated with lax penalties when it comes to animal cruelty including the involvement with torture and mutilation or disfigurement.

Remember, animal cruelty is a crime. Offenders have to be punished. Our animals' safety could depend on our involvement: Even may be our own lives at the line.  Please-for the mental hygiene of our State, make stiffer laws against animal cruelty.


Thank you for your reading, and may God continue to bless America.

"And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss of one weak creature makes a void in any heart so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up.." Charles Dickens


1966- Hellman & Blackman. Established that cruelty to animals is part of a triad of behaviors useful for predicting criminal behavior.
1971- Tapia.
1977- Rigdon & Tapia. Provided the first clear description and systematic study of children who commit animal cruelty. It established the typical animal abuser as being a male of average intelligence with an early history of antisocial behavior, with a childhood history that is likely to include gross neglect, brutality, rejection and hostility.
1980- Felthous. Studied two groups of male psychiatric patients, one with an assaultive history, and one with a history of animal cruelty. The second group was significantly more likely to have had an alcoholic father, set destructive fires, had enuresis past age five, been separated from the father, and cruelty was more severe towards cats than dogs.
1983- Deviney, Dickert & Lockwood. Studied fifty-three families in New Jersey suffering from domestic violence, and found that 60% reported that pets were also abused and/or neglected.
1985- Kellert & Felthous. Studied the relationship between cruelty to animals and aggression among criminals and noncriminals. They found significantly higher rates of cruelty toward animals among aggressive criminals.
1986- Kellert & Felthous. Follow-up study to predict future violence.
1991- Hickey. Found that in some cases killing animals was to relive the experience of killing human beings.
1993- Ascione. Cruelty to animals is a serious manifestation of psychopathology particularly when paired with other symptoms and a troubled family history.
1995- Schecter & Edleson.
1997- Edleson. Both the 1995 and 1997 studies found that children growing up in homes where there is domestic violence are at risk for psychological disturbance, with one sign being cruelty to animals.
1997- Ascione. This study surveyed thirty-eight women seeking shelter at a safehouse and found that 74% reported having a pet killed and 71% reported the pet(s) were threatened or harmed.
1997- Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northwestern University. Examined criminal records of 153 animal abusers and 153 non-abusers over a twenty-year period. The study found that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes than non-abusers.


71% of abused women report that their batterers have threatened to hurt/kill their pets and have done so.
32% of battered women with children report that their children have hurt or killed pets.
25%-48% of battered women delay leaving an abusive situation for fear of what will happen to her pet if left behind.
40% of battered women report that they have been forced to participate in sexual acts with animals as part of their domestic terrorization.

Sex Offenders:
48% of rapists have committed acts of animal cruelty as children or adolescents.
30% of child molesters have committed acts of animal cruelty as children or adolescents
15% of all active rapists also rape animals.

Child Abuse:
80% of homes in which animal control agencies found abused/neglected pets there had been previous investigations by child welfare agencies of physical abuse and neglect.

American Humane Association. (1991). Report on the summit on violence toward children and animals, Nov. 1-3, 1991. Englewood, CO: AHA.
American Humane Association. (1992). Protecting children and animals: Agenda for a non-violent future. Englewood, CO: AHA.
American Humane Association. (1995). A training guide for recognizing and reporting child abuse for animal control officers and humane investigators. Englewood, CO: AHA.
American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd ed., Washington, D.C.: APA.
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., Washington, D.C.: APA.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (1996). Should vets tell? Part of what veterinarians do is treat animal victims of violence. Should they also report violence? New York, NY: ASPCA.
American Veterinary Medical Association. (1992). The veterinary service market for companion animals. Schaumburg, IL: AVMA.
Arkow, P. (1994a). Animal abuse and domestic violence: Intake statistics tell a sad story. Latham Letter, XV (2), 17.
Arkow, P. (1994b). Child abuse, animal abuse, and the veterinarian. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 204 (7), 1004-1007.
Ascione, F.R. (1993). Children who are cruel to animals: A review of the research and implications for developmental psychopathology. Anthrozoos, VI (4), 226-247.
Ascione, F.R. (1996). Domestic Violence and Cruelty to Animals. Latham Letter, XVII (1), 1-16.
Ascione, F.R. and Weber, C. (1995). Battered partners shelter survey. Logan, UT: Utah State University.
Beirne, Piers. (1997). Rethinking bestiality: Toward a concept of interspecies sexual assault. Journal of Theoretical Criminology, 1 (3), 317-340.
Boat, B. (1995). The relationship between violence to children and violence to animals: An Ignored Link? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10 (4), 229-235.
DeViney, E., Dickert, J., and Lockwood, R. (1983). The care of pets within child abusing families. International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems, 4, 321-329.
Dutton, M.A. (1992). Empowering and healing the battered woman. New York, NY: Springer.
Faller, K.C. (1990). Understanding child sexual maltreatment. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Felthous, A.R. (1980). Aggression against cats, dogs, and people. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 10 (3), 169-177.
Felthous, A.R. and Kellert, S.R. (1986). Violence against animals and people: Is aggression against living creatures generalized? Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 14 (1), 5569.
Finkelhor, D., Williams, L.M., and Burns, N. (1988). Nursery crimes: Sexual abuse in daycare. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Geddes, V.C. (1977). Enuresis, fire setting and animal cruelty, a follow-up study to review the hypothesis in reference to the prediction of violence. MS Thesis, Department of Criminal Justice, California State University, Long Beach, CA.
Lockwood, R., and Ascione, F.R. (1998). Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence: Readings in Research and Application. West Layfayette, IN: Purdue University Press.

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