Kids Hurting Animals

If reports are true that Salvador Ramos (the alleged shooter in the deadly attack on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas) posted videos of cruelty to animals online and bragged about throwing dead cats at people’s houses before he opened fire on defenseless children or that Payton Gendron (the alleged shooter in Buffalo, New York) wrote about stabbing and beheading a cat and posted photos of the dead animal online, it would come as no surprise to PETA. The FBI warns that harming animals is a sign of more carnage to come. 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. More lives may depend on it.

PETA keeps an updated list of reported incidents in which young people commit acts of cruelty to animals. Many acts of cruelty go unreported. This resource is meant to illustrate how prevalent the problem is and provide educators with tools to educate students on what it means to have compassion for all living beings. If you aren’t an educator, please share this page with one you know and inform them about TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—and our empathy-building educational resources.

Forty-three percent of perpetrators of schoolyard massacres commit acts of cruelty to animals first (Source)—it’s time for educators to take action by implementing humane education.

Browse the List


State Laws

T.C.A. 49-6-1007. Character Education

“(a) The course of instruction in all public schools shall include character education to help each student develop positive values and improve student conduct as students learn to act in harmony with their positive values and learn to become good citizens in their school, community, and society.” (Source)

Reported Animal Abuse Cases

May 2022/Cleveland, Tennessee

NewsChannel9.com reported that a teen had beaten a dog with a stick so viciously that the animal died while another teen apparently filmed the incident. The horrifying video was then reportedly shared via social media and with local law-enforcement officials.

November 2019/Memphis, Tennessee

Fox13Memphis.com reported that 18-year-old Memphis resident Kyoko Smith had been accused by officials of having beheaded her grandmother’s dog, an alleged crime for which she reportedly faces felony charges.

November 2019/Nashville, Tennessee

FOX17.com reported that a Nashville teacher had been charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals after an emu allegedly died in her care.

October 2019/Nashville, Tennessee

WKRN.com reported that a 12-year-old boy had been charged with aggravated animal abuse after allegedly beating a cat and throwing her into a dumpster.

May 2019/Fayetteville, Tennessee

WAAYTV.com reported that two fifth-grade students faced aggravated cruelty-to-animals charges after allegedly breaking into Ralph Askins Elementary School and putting peanut butter and whipped cream into a fish tank, killing the animals inside.

March 2019/Nashville, Tennessee

WKRN.com reported that a 17-year-old Nashville resident was arrested on felony cruelty-to-animals charges after he allegedly admitted to dragging his dog down a north Nashville street while repeatedly striking the animal.

July 2018/Nashville, Tennessee

NewsChannel5.com reported that a 16-year-old girl had been charged with felony cruelty to animals in juvenile court after allegedly beating her boyfriend’s 3-month-old puppy to death.

May 2018/Nashville, Tennessee

WKRN.com reported that a Nashville teenager had been accused of grabbing a rabbit by the ears and throwing the animal across a room in an attack that was captured on video and shared on social media. The rabbit received veterinary care, and reported evidence of a prior injury suggests that the animal had been abused before.

October 2016/Jackson, Tennessee

WBBJTV.com reported that a teenager had been charged with cruelty to animals after officials found his 2-month-old puppy tied to a ladder in his backyard, malnourished, with a USB cable wrapped so tightly around the animal’s neck that it cut into the skin. Reportedly, the puppy could only move about six inches because of the wire and there was no water or food source within reach.

August 2016/Chattanooga, Tennessee

NewsChannel9.com reported that a 10-year-old boy had been accused of stabbing his family’s puppy in the face multiple times with pocket knife. The dog reportedly underwent emergency surgery and was recovering but lost the use of one of his eyes.

November 2015/Hamilton County, Tennessee

WRCBTV.com reported that a 15-year-old high school student had allegedly trampled to death and then skinned a raccoon on his school’s campus. A video of the act had been shared on social media and viewed by fellow students, and the incident was under investigation.

April 2014/Christiana, Tennessee

WGNSRadio.com reported that a 16-year-old boy had been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals for torturing and killing his family’s dog and then hiding the body inside a storage barn. The dog allegedly sustained stab wounds and head trauma and experienced bleeding.