Kids Hurting Animals

As mental-health and law-enforcement experts well know, cruelty to animals and violence against humans are inextricably linked. Many educators are aware that serial killers and school shooters—including alleged killers Salvador Ramos, Payton Gendron, Nikolas Cruz, and Ethan Crumbley—tend to have a history of cruelty to animals, and Sandy Hook Promise has cruelty to animals on its “10 Critical Warning Signs of Violence” list.

Forty-three percent of perpetrators of schoolyard massacres commit acts of cruelty to animals first. Educators can help prevent future tragedies by including kindness to animals in the curriculum. Amid the current epidemic of youth violence, PETA urges everyone to report every act of cruelty against animals and calls on authorities to take each animal abuse claim seriously—for the sake of the animal victims and to help prevent future harm. Lives may depend on it.

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State Laws

105 ILCS 5/27-12

Character education. Every public school teacher shall teach character education, which includes the teaching of respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, trustworthiness, and citizenship, in order to raise pupils’ honesty, kindness, justice, discipline, respect for others, and moral courage for the purpose of lessening crime and raising the standard of good character.” (Source)

School Code. (105 ILCS 5/27-13.1) (from Ch. 122, par. 27-13.1)

“Sec. 27-13.1. In every public school there shall be instruction, study and discussion of current problems and needs in the conservation of natural resources, including but not limited to air pollution, water pollution, waste reduction and recycling, the effects of excessive use of pesticides, preservation of wilderness areas, forest management, protection of wildlife and humane care of domestic animals. (Source: P.A. 86-229.)” (Source)

Reported Animal Abuse Cases

April 2024/Peoria County, Illinois

PJStar.com reported that a 16-year-old had been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and depiction of animal cruelty after admitting to his alleged role in flinging a cat from a speeding vehicle on U.S. 150 near Brimfield. The cruel act was apparently documented on Snapchat, and the feline’s lifeless body was located by Peoria County Animal Protection Services the following day. 

July 2017/Kewanee, Illinois

KWQC.com reported that a 17-year-old was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after allegedly mutilating an 8-week-old puppy, who was found with lacerations on his neck and an abrasion on his back.

May 2016/Riverside, Illinois

Patch.com reported that a 15-year-old girl had been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly flinging a baseball bat at her family’s dog. She reportedly claimed that she had tried to kill the dog because the animal had an accident on her bed.

February 2016/Chicago, Illinois

WashingtonPost.com reported that a teenager had been charged with felony cruelty to animals after dumping a pot of scalding-hot water onto a stray cat and then posting video of the act on social media. The cat reportedly ran from the scene screaming in pain but was rehabilitated.

April 2015/Eureka, Illinois

Pantagraph.com reported that a 17-year-old had been arrested and charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly shooting a horse to death. The horse, named Chipper, had lived with his guardian for 16 years and was reportedly grazing in a field near his home when he was killed.