animals, and parents look the other way. They do, at least, until their kids
are all grown up and out on their own. By then, it is nearly always too late.
Patrick Sherrill, who killed 14 coworkers at a post office and
then shot himself, had a history of stealing local pets and allowing his own
dog to attack and mutilate them.
Earl Kenneth Shriner, who raped, stabbed, and mutilated a
7-year-old boy, had been widely known in his neighborhood as the man who put
firecrackers in dogs’ rectums and strung up stray cats to die.
Brenda Spencer, who opened fire at a San Diego school, killing
two children and injuring nine others, had repeatedly abused cats and dogs,
often by setting their tails on fire.
Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler" who killed 13 women,
trapped dogs and cats in orange crates and shot arrows through the boxes in
Carroll Edward Cole, executed for five of the 35 murders of
which he was accused, said his first act of violence as a child was to
strangle a puppy.
In 1987, three Missouri high school students were charged with
the beating death of a classmate. They had histories of repeated acts of
animal mutilation starting several years earlier. One confessed that he had
killed so many cats he’d lost count.
Two brothers who murdered their parents had previously told
classmates that they had decapitated a cat.
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer had impaled dogs’ heads, frogs, and
cats on sticks.
More recently, high school killers such as 15-year-old Kip
Kinkel in Springfield, Ore., and Luke Woodham, 16, in Pearl, Miss., tortured
animals before embarking upon their shooting sprees.
Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold,
who shot and killed 12 classmates before turning their guns on themselves,
bragged about mutilating animals to their friends.
As powerful a
statement as the high-profile examples above make, they don't even begin to
scratch the surface of the whole truth behind the abuse connection. Learning
more about the animal cruelty/interpersonal violence connection is vital for
community members, law enforcement officials, the clergy, and parents alike.