Epidemic:
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.

Browse the List

California

State Laws

ARTICLE 5. Hate Violence Prevention Act [233–233.8]

“(a) Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship, and the meaning of equality and human dignity, including the promotion of harmonious relations, kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures, to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity, and falsehood, and to instruct them in manners and morals and the principles of a free government.

(b) Each teacher is also encouraged to create and foster an environment that encourages pupils to realize their full potential and that is free from discriminatory attitudes, practices, events, or activities, in order to prevent acts of hate violence, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 233.” (Source)

Reported Animal Abuse Cases

April 2021/Riverside, California

Abcnews.go.com reported that a 19-year-old man had been charged with animal cruelty after cutting his puppy’s throat and posting the video on Snapchat.

April 2018/Oxnard, California

TheCamarilloAcorn.com reported that an Adolfo Camarillo High School student had been accused of hurling a mouse against the pavement as part of a dare while laughing about it. In a video shared on social media, the mouse appeared to have died.

February 2018/Patterson, California

Fox40.com reported that a teenager had been accused of hurling a kitten into a large body of water in an attack that was filmed and posted online, where the video went viral.

December 2017/Ontario, California

FOX5SanDiego.com reported that a teen is facing felony charges of animal abuse after reportedly throwing a small cat approximately 20 yards into a street, causing a fractured leg.

February 2017/Delhi, California

MercedSunStar.com reported that a high school student had tortured and killed a pig on the Delhi High School campus. The pig was stabbed, burned, and possibly hanged by the neck with rope, and one other pig was found with a knife wound in his leg. The animals had reportedly been used as part of an FFA (aka “Future Farmers of America”) project. The suspect was arrested.

May 2016/Pomona, California

NBCLosAngeles.com reported that a 5-year-old goat had been stolen and later found on a high school campus with a broken leg and her body shaved and painted, allegedly as part of a “senior prank” carried out by a group of students. The animal reportedly died after undergoing surgery, and the case was under investigation.

February 2016/Bakersfield, California

KernGoldenEmpire.com reported that a small dog had been found with severe facial injuries, including multiple fractures to the jaw, possibly as a result of having been attacked by a juvenile. A suspect had not been identified.

September 2015/Clovis, California

FresnoBee.com reported that a high school student had been arrested and charged with felony cruelty to animals after allegedly launching a cat 20 to 30 feet into the air, causing injuries. The act had reportedly been caught on video.

December 2014/Bakersfield, California

LATimes.com reported that two teenagers had fed a live cat to two dogs and then posted a video of their actions online. The suspects had reportedly been arrested under suspicion of cruelty to animals.

September 2014/Caruthers, California

NBCBayArea.com reported that four teenagers had broken into a Foster Farms chicken ranch and bludgeoned 920 chickens to death using a golf club and another blunt object. The suspects had reportedly been arrested and were facing felony cruelty-to-animals charges.

August 2014/San Jose, California

ABC7News.com reported that two teenagers had been accused of breaking into a family’s home and clubbing their dog to death. The 11-year-old Chihuahua mix, Sparky, was allegedly beaten with a golf club during the burglary and died from his injuries.

April 2014/Santa Clara, California

MercuryNews.com reported that several middle school students had been arrested after allegedly killing a rabbit, a duck, and five chickens during a vandalism spree on the Wilcox High School campus. The animals, who were being used as part of a school project, were reportedly tortured, hit, and thrown against walls.

July 2013/Atwater, California

DailyMail.co.uk reported that a teenager had been charged with cruelty to animals after he was accused of beating a Chihuahua to death with a wooden plank and dumping the animal’s dead body in a trash can. He was also accused of shooting a neighbor’s dog with a BB gun a year earlier, but no charges were filed against him in that case because of a lack of evidence.

March 2013/Camarillo, California

VCStar.com reported that a teenager had been sentenced to 16 months in prison for deliberately setting his family’s dog on fire. The 3-year-old dog, who was doused with lighter fluid and set ablaze, sustained severe burns and died from his injuries.

February 2013/San Diego, California

NBCSanDiego.com reported that a teenager had pleaded guilty to felony cruelty-to-animals charges for beating three husky puppies. Two of them died, and the other sustained serious injuries. The teen reportedly purchased two of the puppies from a breeder, claiming that they were for his family members. One puppy was allegedly paralyzed after being slammed into a wall, another sustained broken bones, and another was drowned.