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

Florida

State Laws

1003.42 Required instruction.— . . .

“(j) Kindness to animals.”

“(s) A character-development program in the elementary schools, similar to Character First or Character Counts, which is secular in nature. Beginning in school year 2004–2005, the character-development program shall be required in kindergarten through grade 12. Each district school board shall develop or adopt a curriculum for the character-development program that shall be submitted to the department for approval. The character-development curriculum shall stress the qualities of patriotism; responsibility; citizenship; kindness; respect for authority, life, liberty, and personal property; honesty; charity; self-control; racial, ethnic, and religious tolerance; and cooperation.” (Source)

Reported Animal Abuse Cases

June 2020/Palm Coast, Florida

IBTimes.com reported that a 16-year-old boy had been arrested and charged with cruelty to animals after his friend uploaded videos in which the boy aggressively beat a dog with a leather belt.

August 2019/Hollywood, Florida

Local10.com reported that a group of kids were recorded on video running over an iguana with a shopping cart and throwing objects at the animal as he or she tried to escape.

April 2019/Escambia County, Florida

NorthEscambia.com reported that a Ransom Middle School student had allegedly abused a rabbit by tossing the animal into the air and allowing him or her to fall to the ground repeatedly. The alleged incident was recorded with a camera and shared on social media.

May 2018/Ocala, Florida

ClickOrlando.com reported that a teacher in Forest High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program reportedly drowned an opossum and two raccoons, while students in an agriculture class assisted, because he believed that the animals were “nuisances” to the agricultural program.

January 2018/Boca Raton, Florida

PalmBeachPost.com reported that a teenager had been sentenced to a month in jail, a year of house arrest, and another two years of probation for fatally beating his 4-month-old pit bull. A veterinary examination discovered bruising on the puppy’s head, broken teeth, and a lacerated liver, which is believed to have led to the dog’s death.

December 2017/Cape Coral, Florida

NBC-2.com reported that a teenager had been accused of filming himself kicking a cat and then later bragging about it on social media.

October 2016/Orlando, Florida

OrlandoSentinel.com reported that a University of Central Florida student had been arrested and charged after allegedly tormenting, mutilating, and killing his puppy, Julian. The suspect allegedly admitted to hitting the dog multiple times because he had urinated in the house. The dog, who appeared to have been beaten to death, reportedly sustained head injuries, traumatic lesions, and fractured bones.

May 2016/Nassau County, Florida

ActionNewsJax.com reported that three teenage girls had been charged with cruelty to animals after a Snapchat video surfaced that appeared to depict a rabbit being repeatedly thrown against a wall. The teens responsible were reportedly between the ages of 13 and 14. The animal allegedly sustained a fractured leg and other injuries.

November 2015/Brandon, Florida

FOX13News.com reported that a dead deer had been found hanging from a flagpole on a local high school campus, and some students suspected that it was a “prank” committed by students at a rival high school. The case was being investigated by authorities.

October 2015/Ocala, Florida

Ocala.com reported that a teenager had been arrested and charged with felony cruelty to animals after admitting that he poisoned his neighbor’s 10-year-old dog because she barked at his birds. The teen put antifreeze into a boiled egg and fed it to her through the fence. She was reportedly in critical condition after ingesting the poison and died that day.

March 2015/Tampa, Florida

USAToday.com reported that two teenagers had been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after allegedly abusing a dog named Cabela, who was tied to railroad tracks and shot multiple times. One of her legs was shattered by a bullet, but she survived surgery and was recovering from the attack.

February 2015/Fort Lauderdale, Florida

NBCMiami.com reported that a group of teenagers had been accused of killing a pelican. The attack was reportedly caught on video by a security camera, and the teens allegedly killed the bird by restraining him and repeatedly blowing fumes from an e-cigarette into his beak and eyes, then holding his beak closed so that he couldn’t breathe.

October 2014/Clay County, Florida

News4Jax.com reported that an 11-year-old Middleburg Elementary School student had been charged with cruelty to animals after admitting to killing his mother’s dog. The dog had reportedly been found in a shallow grave on the family’s property and was missing his head and paws.

July 2014/Orange Park, Florida

NYDailyNews.com reported that two teenage girls—ages 18 and 15—had been arrested and charged with felony cruelty to animals after allegedly torturing and killing a gopher tortoise and then posting a video of the act on Facebook. The video reportedly shows them laughing while dousing the tortoise with a flammable liquid, kicking him, lighting him on fire, and stomping him to death.

December 2013/Molino, Florida

NorthEscambia.com reported that two teenagers and two 20-year-olds had been charged with felony cruelty to animals, among other offenses, after allegedly killing a family’s caged cockatoo with a knife while burglarizing their home.

June 2013/Melbourne, Florida

NBCMiami.com reported that a 17-year-old had been charged with cruelty to animals after a video surfaced on social media sites that appeared to depict him shooting and killing a caged raccoon and opossum. The case was reportedly still under investigation.