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

2016 Iowa Code
Section 256.18–Character education policy.

“Schools should make every effort, formally and informally, to stress character qualities that will maintain a safe and orderly learning environment, and that will ultimately equip students to be model citizens. These qualities may include caring, civic virtue and citizenship, justice and fairness, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, giving, honesty, self-discipline, respect for and obedience to the law, citizenship, courage, initiative, commitment, perseverance, kindness, compassion, service, loyalty, patience, the dignity and necessity of hard work, and any other qualities deemed appropriate by a school.” (Source)

Reported Animal Abuse Cases

February 2024/Dubuque, Iowa

KCRG.com reported that two teens had apparently been seen beating an opossum to death in a video posted on Snapchat. The video allegedly shows both juveniles repeatedly striking the animal with metal folding chairs and one of them maneuvering a chair like a guillotine at one point. One of the individuals was reportedly charged with killing the animal.

July 2020/Des Moines, Iowa

DesMoinesRegister.com reported that a juvenile had been charged with two counts of animal torture after allegedly disemboweling a living dog and killing a kitten.

July 2018/Rhodes, Iowa

KCRG.com reported that an 11-year-old boy had been accused of injecting lethal amounts of insulin into his family’s cat and two dogs. Authorities expected charges to be filed against him.

May 2017/Lee County, Iowa

KHQA.com reported that a Facebook Live video depicting what appeared to be juveniles torturing an opossum was being investigated. The video was said to show the animal being swung by the tail, beaten, and smashed with a large rock.