Kids Hurting Animals

PETA keeps an updated list of reported incidents in which young people commit acts of cruelty to animals. These incidents are only the ones that have been reported in the media. The actual number of such abuse cases is likely much higher since many go unreported. This resource is meant to illustrate the prevalence of the problem and to provide educators with tools to help their students learn what it means to have compassion for all sentient beings.

43% of the perpetrators commit acts of cruelty to animals before schoolyard massacres (Source)—it’s time for educators to take action by implementing humane education.


Select your state or province to view its laws that pertain to teaching about kindness to animals as well as its incidents of youth violence against animals.

Young people who abuse animals often go on to commit acts of violence against humans. Animals have often been targets of aggression prior to school shootings.

Many states and provinces have enacted laws mandating instruction in kindness, compassion, and justice. By vigorously enforcing these laws, we can foster children’s empathy for animals and prevent future acts of violence.

Latest Cases

April 2021/Nebraska: Two teenagers were accused of killing a nesting female goose.
May 2021/Maryland: Two 16-year-old boys were arrested on felony cruelty-to-animals charges after allegedly killing a cat and leaving the animal’s body on a playground at Mount Pleasant Park.
May 2021/Mississippi: A 12-year-old allegedly set the face of a stray dog on fire in Tate County.

What You Can Do

This may seem like an overwhelming problem, but there are violence-prevention steps that you can take right now to make an impact.

Click here to download the guide today.

“Exposure to animal cruelty can have a significant impact on the developing child, including promoting desensitization and decreasing empathy … and leading to the imitation of abusive behaviors.”

—Dr. Barbara Boat, Director of the Program on Childhood Trauma and Maltreatment at the University of Cincinnati