Why should law enforcement care about animal cruelty?

Escrito por HSUS. Publicado en Formación de Cuerpos Policiales.

Without strict intervention, people who abuse and kill animals are more likely to target human victims. Many of society’s most infamous mass murderers and serial killers - and a significant percentage of spousal abusers - initially target animals with their violent conduct.

Animal cruelty is a predictor and indicator of other violent crimes.


· 70% of animal abusers were found in one 20 year study to have committed other crimes and 44% went on to harm people. (Arluke, A. & Luke, C. 1997).

· A 2002 study found that 99% of animal abusers had convictions for other crimes, 100% of people who committed sexual homicide had abused animals, and 61.5% of animal abusers had also assaulted a human. (Clarke, J. P. 2002).

· In a 1999 study, 63% of prison inmates convicted of violent crimes admitted to abusing animals. (Schiff Louw Ascione, 1999)

· Police have found animal abuse is a better predictor of whether someone will commit sexual assault than previous convictions for murder or arson. (Clarke, J. P. 2002). Animal abuse is associated with both domestic violence and child abuse.

· An early study found that there was animal abuse in 88% of families who were under State supervision due to the physical abuse of their children (DeViney, Dickert & Lockwood, 1983).

· Pet abuse is a significant predictor of partners who will become batterers (Campbell, 2006).

· State and national surveys of domestic violence victims consistently find that as many as 71% of battered women report their partners threatened, or killed, the family pet (Ascione, 1995).

· The threat of animal abuse to silence child sex abuse victims has been a factor in a number of criminal convictions (Davidson, 1998). Serial killers and school shooters have histories of abusing animals.

· Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert DeSalvo (the “Boston Strangler”) and many others committed heinous acts of animal cruelty before brutally maiming and killing their human victims.

· Of 36 inmates convicted of multiple murders questioned in a study, 46% admitted committing acts of animal torture as adolescents (Congressional Register, 1996).

· Over half of the school shooters were known to persistently abuse animals (Miner, 1999). Chicago PD Crime Study – Sargent Brian Degenhardt, Special Operations Section Statistical Summary of Offenders Charged with Crimes Against Companion Animals July 2001-July 2004.

· The Chicago Police Department studied 332 arrest records of persons charged with crimes against animals including animal cruelty, aggravated animal cruelty, torture of an animal, dog fighting, owning or breeding animals for fighting, and ancillary crimes against animals.

All information is based on official Chicago Police Department arrest records. Of the 332 offenders reviewed:
· 86% had two or more arrests in their history.

· 13% are sex offenders. Of the 36 sex offenders in this study, 11 were sexual assault by force and 7 were predatory sex offenses involving children under 13.

· 27% carried or used an illegal firearm in the commission of a crime.

· 70% have been arrested for felony crimes including murder, narcotics trafficking, assaulting a police officer, child endangerment, armed robbery, vehicular hijacking, theft and sydicated gambling.

· 75% have been arrested for domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, or battery with a weapon.

· 70% have been arrested for illegal narcotics – 68% of them were charged with sale, delivery, or trafficking of illegal narotics.

· 59% are members of street gangs.

HSUS Factsheet.
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