The animal cruelty serial killer connection
 Compliments of the Humane Society.

Criminal Code Backgrounders

Linking Animal Cruelty to Human Violence

FBI and Scotland Yard recognize that violence towards animals is one of five key indicators of a person who will commit violent acts against people. A past history of violence is a predictor of future aggression.

U.S. states have felony offences for animal cruelty, with prison sentences up to 10 years.

U.S. public opinion polls show that 81% of the surveyed respondents supported strengthening animal cruelty laws. 71% were in favour of upgrading cruelty offences from misdemeanors to felonies. 87% said cruelty to animals offences should protect wild animals as well as pets. 89% said social agencies, educators, law enforcers and animal welfare organizations should share information about animal abusers as a means of reducing child abuse.

Animal abusers often suffer from low self-esteem, a history of family abuse, frustration and an inability to manage anger. Childhood cruelty may provide a child with a sense of power and mastery over animals. Typical factors are revenge, retaliation, intimidation, deviant arousal or peer pressure.

In one American study, 118 out of 135 criminals, including robbers and rapists, admitted that when they were children, they had burned, hanged and stabbed domestic animals.

78% of 63 people charged with animal cruelty had also been charged with violence or threats of violence against people (Jim McIsaac, Winnipeg Police Services).

152 criminal subjects reported 373 acts involving undue harm to animals. 60% reported at least one or more acts of childhood cruelty toward animals. 41% reported 1 - 2 cruelties, 11% admitted 3 - 4 cruel acts towards animals and 8% indicated 5 or more animal cruelties during childhood. 25% of aggressive criminals reported 5 or more childhood cruelties compared to less than 6% of moderate and nonaggressive criminals. 3/4 of all aggressive criminal subjects reported excessive and repeated child abuse. (Kellert and Felthous "Childhood Cruelty Toward Animals Among Criminals and Non-Criminals", Human Relations Volume 38, No. 12, PP. 1113 - 1129).

 61% of 39 women who had been abused by their partners and were living in women's shelters in Hamilton and Owen Sound said their pets had either been abused or killed by their partners. 48% said concern for the safety of their pets prevented them from leaving their abusive home sooner.

Three surveys of women's shelters in Wisconsin and Utah showed an average of 74% of women with pets reported that their animals had been threatened, injured or killed by their abuser.

83% of families in Britain with a history of animal abuse were identified by social service agencies as at risk for child abuse or neglect (Royal SPCA, Britain, 1981).

58% of sexual homicide perpetrators who were sexually abused as children recounted childhood animal cruelty (Dr. Patricia Schene "One By One Is Not the Only Way" Advocate Fall/Winter 1993).

See Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence (Readings in Research) edited by Dr. Randall Lockwood and Frank R. Ascione, Purdue University Press (800) 933 - 9637 (ISBN 1-55753-106-4) ($24.95 U.S.) and Child Abuse, Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse: Linking the Circles of Compassion for Prevention and Intervention by Frank Ascione and Phil Arkow Purdue University Press (ISBN 1-55753-143-9) ($24.95 U.S.)


Criminal Code Backgrounders

Serial Killers, School Shootings and Youth Crimes

School Shootings

Brenda Spencer, a 16 year-old school girl, killed two children and wounded 8 at a San Diego elementary school in 1979. She had abused dogs and cats, often by setting their tails on fire.

Mark Lepine shot 14 women at Laval University. He slaughtered pigeons.

Luke Woodham stabbed his mother and killed two school children in Pearl, Mississippi. A diary entry stated: "I killed for the first time - the victim is a loved one - my dear dog Sparkle. He howled - it sounded almost like him. We hit it more (boys will be boys)."

Jason Massey shot a girl, disemboweled her and her head and hands were missing. He claims to have killed 37 cats, 29 dogs and 6 cows.

Andrew Golden shot children at school. He shot his own dog which was in the hospital the week before the school shooting. He routinely shot dogs.

Kip Kinkeo shot 25 classmates and killed several in Sprinkle, Oregon. He killed his father and mother. He said he blew up a cow once. His classmates rated him as "Most Likely to Start WWIII".

Chad Lamanski one of three boys who bludgeoned 18 cats to death at Noah's Ark sanctuary in Iowa.

Serial Killers

Albert DeSalvo (the Boston Strangler) killed 13 women. In his youth he trapped dogs and cats in orange crates and shot arrows through the boxes.

Theodore Bundy executed for multiple murders. He claimed he spent early years with a grandfather who tormented animals. Evidence linked him to graves filled with animals bones.

Paul Bernardo raped and tortured victims. He cooked and ate his wife's pet iguana.

Mark Lepine shot 14 women at Laval University. He slaughtered pigeons.

Jeffrey Dahmer staked cats to trees and decapitated dogs.

Keith Hunter Jesperson (Happy Face Killer) strangled eight women. He bashed gopher heads, beat, strangled and shot stray cats and dogs. "You're actually squeezing the life out of these animals." "Choking a human being or a cat - it's the same feeling." "I'm the very end result of what happens when somebody kills an animal at an early age."

Richard Trenton Chase killed women. He was caught with a bucket of blood which he claimed was cow's blood and he was released. Later, a blender and stew pots with animal parts, as well as hundreds of leashes were found.

Henry Lee Lucas he was implicated in 30 murders and claimed to have killed 300 people. As a child, he killed every cat on his parent's farm.

David Berkowitz killed 13 people. He killed his neighbour's Labrador retriever.

Jason Massey shot a girl, disemboweled her and her head and hands were missing. He claims to have killed 37 cats, 29 dogs and 6 cows.

Carroll Edward Cole - reputed to be one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history - convicted for 5 of 35 murders accused. He confessed his first act of violence was to strangle a puppy under the porch of his house.

Patrick Sherrill (the Oklahoma Mail Carrier) shot 14 co-workers and himself in 1986. He had stolen neighbourhood pets, tied them with baling wire and goaded his own dog to mutilate them.

Robert Alton Harris murdered two 16 year old boys, doused a neighbour with lighter fluid and tossed matches at him. His initial run-in with police was for killing neighbourhood cats.

James Huberty killed 21 children and adults at a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidra, California. He had shot his neighbour's dog with an air gun.

Michael Cartier shot Kristine Lardner twice and himself. He broke the legs of a cat he gave her, threw it through a second storey window and was charged with animal abuse, but not convicted. He would have been in jail, if convicted, when he killed Kristine. He ripped the legs off a rabbit when he was a child.


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