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


(a) The State Board of Education shall integrate positive character traits into the essential knowledge and skills adopted for kindergarten through grade 12, as appropriate.
(b) The State Board of Education must include the following positive character traits:
(1) courage;
(2) trustworthiness, including honesty, reliability, punctuality, and loyalty;
(3) integrity;
(4) respect and courtesy;
(5) responsibility, including accountability, diligence, perseverance, and self-control;
(6) fairness, including justice and freedom from prejudice;
(7) caring, including kindness, empathy, compassion, consideration, patience, generosity, and charity;
(8) good citizenship, including patriotism, concern for the common good and the community, and respect for authority and the law;
(9) school pride; and
(10) gratitude.
(c) Each school district and open-enrollment charter school must adopt a character education program that includes the positive character traits listed in Subsection (b). (Source)

Reported Animal Abuse Cases

May 2024/El Paso, Texas

Univision El Paso reported that authorities were investigating a group of apparent Charles Q. Murphree PK–8 School students for alleged animal abuse related to the violent beating of a family’s dog. This cruelty was reportedly recorded on video and shared in a group chat. The footage appears to depict a young person repeatedly kicking, stomping on, and hitting a dog as the canine seemingly seeks to escape. The video, apparently recorded in a disturbingly entertained spirit, allegedly includes audio in which someone asks, “Are you gonna make him throw up?” along with sounds of people laughing throughout the vicious attack.

May 2023/Amarillo, Texas

Newschannel10.com reported on the arrest of a 17-year-old who allegedly shot two dogs. Pearl, a chocolate Labrador retriever, reportedly died as a result of the incident. The teen was reportedly charged with cruelty to non-livestock animals along with additional crimes.

March 2023/Edinburg, Texas

ValleyCentral.com reported that a juvenile was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals stemming from an alleged assault on a dog during which the animal was forcefully kicked and otherwise viciously abused. The alleged attack was evidently filmed and posted to social media, and officials reportedly declared it “cruel and unjustifiable.”

May 2022/Uvalde, Texas

ABCNews.go.com reported that Salvador Ramos—the 18-year-old accused of shooting and killing 19 children and two teachers inside Robb Elementary School—allegedly would “put cats in plastic bags, suspend them inside, throw them at the ground and throw them at people’s houses.”

January 2022/Terry County, Texas

KWTX.com reported that a group of teenagers allegedly shot a sheep multiple times with a BB gun and cut her ears off before ultimately killing her. The sheep was found with her jaw blown off after she was left in a nearby cemetery overnight.

July 2021/El Paso, Texas

The El Paso Times reported that a 17-year-old was arrested on suspicion of cruelty to animals in connection with the abandonment of a dog in the desert in Horizon City.

December 2019/El Paso, Texas

KVIA.com reported that three El Paso teenagers faced animal torture charges after allegedly throwing a dog out of a speeding car.

December 2019/Sherman, Texas

KXII.com reported that the Sherman police were investigating after a child was caught on surveillance video roughly handling an injured cat and attempting to put her in a trash can.

August 2019/Dallas, Texas

DailyMail.co.uk reported that a student, believed to be from Dallas, filmed herself as she shoved her dog into a clothes dryer and turned it on while “screaming and laughing hysterically.”

June 2019/San Elizario, Texas

CBSAustin.com reported that a teen had been taken into custody after filming himself injuring a kitten. The animal later succumbed to her injuries.

January 2019/Abilene, Texas

KTXS.com reported that a chicken was allegedly set on fire and burned to death by three teenagers. The incident was reportedly recorded and uploaded to social media.

July 2018/Belton, Texas

KCENTV.com reported that a Twitter video had surfaced of two teenage boys throwing a cat into a local lake. The case is reportedly under investigation, and the suspects could face charges.

May 2018/Wichita Falls, Texas

TimesRecordNews.com reported that two Wichita Falls students were arrested after allegedly stabbing, dismembering, and dissecting a kitten and posting a video of the incident on Snapchat.

February 2018/Katy, Texas

Chron.com reported that an FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) student had been accused of dragging a squealing pig by a rope before shooting her in the head with a rifle while on school grounds.

December 2017/Etoile, Texas

CBS19.tv reported that a teen was arrested and charged with seven counts of cruelty to animals after allegedly neglecting seven dogs at his residence. Some of them were left in kennels without food or water, and the others were chained without shelter. Each appeared malnourished and showed signs of other medical issues.

August 2016/Laredo, Texas

KGNS.tv reported that a group of students was responsible for a disturbing video shared on social media, which depicted a rabbit being held down and then repeatedly electroshocked with a Taser.

July 2016/De Kalb, Texas

TXKToday.com reported that a 20-year-old man and a boy had been arrested after allegedly abusing a puppy. According to reports, security camera footage appeared to show them chasing the puppy, tossing him into the air, and throwing rocks at him.

March 2016/Katy, Texas

Chron.com reported that a Snapchat video had surfaced appearing to show students in a local chapter of Young Life (a Christian youth organization) throwing live chickens around the room—even against a wall—in what they described as a “team-building exercise.” One of the chickens who had been used reportedly died soon after.

February 2016/San Antonio, Texas

FoxSanAntonio.com reported that a group of teens was suspected of shooting cats in their neighborhood with BB guns, killing at least three and blinding another. Police were allegedly monitoring the situation.

October 2015/Beaumont, Texas

TheExaminer.com reported that a teenager had pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony for slashing a dog’s neck, hip, and leg with a steak knife attached to a PVC pipe. The pup was reportedly found in a ditch with the blade lodged in his body and is believed to have been lying there for days before being discovered. He survived and was adopted.

January 2015/La Villa, Texas

ValleyCentral.com reported that three juveniles had allegedly attacked and tortured about 30 animals—killing one—while vandalizing La Villa Independent School District’s barn. The animals, including pigs, lambs, goats, and a steer, were being used as part of an FFA (aka Future Farmers of America) project. They were reportedly found with large cuts on their bodies, and it’s believed that their food was poisoned. They were also beaten with a steel bat, and one animal’s eyes were gouged out. The juveniles were expected to face charges.