To Curb Human Violence- Start with Animal Welfare
It Begins With The Animals
Luna, our German Shepherd is lying next to me and one of our cats is spying on a bird thru the window screen. My day started with kisses from Luna seconds before my alarm sounded. I love being woken by her. My husband despises it. Some of you may feel the same way. Whether we love animals or not, we need to care about their welfare. There is a connection between violence of animals and violence to other human beings. Violence begets violence. Violence in society is a sad truth. I believe there is something all of us can do to make our world a little safer, it begins with the animals.
Luna, As A Puppy
Why Am I Writing This?
I want you to know, I am not just writing this Hub for your benefit. I am writing it for mine. It's my personal response to three horrific animal abuse cases that made headlines in my area last week. They were so shocking, I will not share the details, nor will I share photos or videos. I needed not just answers, I needed to learn solutions to make a difference in the world. As animal lover Saint Francis said," let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." I knew I needed to gather factual information first, to clearly understand what society's response should be to animal violence. The facts I found shocked me. I under estimated the depth of connection between animal abuse and violence towards other human beings. My hopes in sharing this information is to educate. We as educated human beings can become part of the solution in creating a safer world for humans and animals.
Robert Ressler, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation stated, "murderers very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids."
The Boston Strangler, Jeffrey Dahmer, BTK , Convicted sniper Lee Boyd Melvo and other serial killers all abused animals as children.
These facts are not limited to the United States either. According to a new South Wales newspaper, a police study in Australia showed that 100 percent of sexual homicide offenders examined had a history of animal cruelty. One hundred percent is a staggering amount!
Let's look at school shooters. Between 1997 and 2001, every single young, male shooter had committed at least 1 act of animal cruelty. The journal Homicide Studies, found that 43% of school shooters between the years 1988 and 2012 had committed acts of animal cruelty.
The United States FBI studies show animal abuse is linked to arson, rape and murder. Psychological profiles tell us people will abuse animals to make up for their own sense of worthlessness in life.
It's not just "kids" hurting animals either. Researchers interviewed women staying in "safe havens." All these women were victims of domestic violence. Between 71% and 83% of these women reported that their partners abused or killed the family pet.
Another study was done on families being supervised due to physical abuse of their children. In 88% of those families, a pet had been abused.
Sexually abused children commonly report a beloved pet was hurt or threatened to be killed. Sexual perpetrators will use threats against the child's pets in attempt to buy silence.
Is Animal Abuse By Children Normal?
Some people believe kids will be kids. Others believe children are mean by nature. Let's ask ourselves, "is it normal for children to abuse animals?" Emphatically, No. Children who abuse animals are sending a clear warning signal we need to heed! It's a warning that they pose a risk to themselves as well as to others. The National School Safety Council, the U.S. Department of Education, the American Psychological Association, and the National Crime Prevention Council all agree that animal cruelty is a warning sign for at-risk youth. Studies show animal cruelty by elementary school boys increases the likelihood that they will commit physical violence during the adolescent years. A child abusing animals may be acting out violence in his own home. That child may need protection as well as any animals in the household. Hurting people hurt. Experts agree that early prevention and treatment of animal cruelty is the key to stopping the cycle of violence. As aggressive children get older, therapy is less apt to have a positive outcome. We certainly do not want these children to become perpetrators of crimes as an adult.
What Can I Do To Help With Animal Welfare?
I believe improving animal welfare begins with children. We need to show kindness to animals and teach our children to do the same. We need to model responsibility and advocate for animals. Let's make time to volunteer at our children's schools, places of worship, or clubs they attend. Children are our future. They are tomorrow's pet owners. A child may not know how to care for a pet. Teach them. Ask the children if they would like to sleep out in the freezing cold, or be outside in the burning heat with no shade. Ask them if they like being hit or their hair pulled. Explain animals have feelings like them. Teaching compassion and empathy towards animals should ideally translate to compassion and empathy towards human beings.
Become familiar with animal cruelty laws in your area. In the United States there are laws against animal cruelty. You can help fight for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws on all levels, federal, state and local by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. In Honduras, residents are working hard to get laws on the book. Campaigns were held, and a petition given to the President of Honduras asking him to approve a law to protect animals. This can be done in other countries as well.
Never ignore animal abuse! Always report abuse to the proper authorities.
Hold a peaceful demonstration or march. People marched after the 3 appalling acts here made headlines. The march was quickly organized. Signs made, schools contacted. We marched with our animals. We brought public awareness to this horrible situation. We want people to understand the connection between animal/human violence. You don't have to be into political activism! I'm not, but I marched. I want to be the voice of those unheard. The greater the numbers, the greater the response!
Organize a 5K event and be creative with the entry "fee!" Pet food perhaps?
Consider donating to a local animal shelter. Don't just think money, they need worn towels, blankets and a host of other items. Many shelters post their needs on a website or their office door. Bring your children with you! Let them see your good deeds! Better yet, volunteer to be a foster pawrent or adopt! Our beloved, Rocky, the dog I bonded with more than any other came from a shelter.
Become a member of one of the many anti-cruelty organizations. A search of the web will show a multitude of options!
Hold a Child's Birthday party at a local animal shelter! Ask for gifts for the shelter! Please check with your local shelter first, not all can accommodate this!
Spread the word on any spay/neuter clinics being held. Make posters with children to advertise the event!
Making or changing a will? A gift helping with animal welfare will have an impact for generations to come.
There are many things each of us can do, with little cost. The return on investment, priceless!
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. ~Edmund Burke
Happy Dog with Happy Pawrent!
Author: Melissa ORourke - 2015 "All Rights Reserved"