Children who abuse animals: It’s not something to ignore.

I recently traveled to Las Vegas for a trade show and conference. During my trip, I rode in a taxi and chatted a bit with the cab driver. No matter where I am or what I am doing, my conversations generally come to a place of talking about animals, and this conversation was no different.

“I have a little dog,” the driver proclaimed proudly. Then she got serious. “I was walking down the street in my neighborhood one day, and these three boys were beating the crap out of this little puppy with sticks. I demanded that the boys tell me who their parents were, but they wouldn’t tell me. Then they threw the puppy at me and told me to keep it. I never saw the boys again, but the puppy is now my best friend.”

I am so glad that puppy found a friend. But what about those boys? What led them to act so viciously towards a defenseless creature?

I will never know. I will also never know the real story about what happened to Okey, my own rescue cat who inspired this website. I do know, though, that many youngsters like those boys have been abused themselves, and harming animals is a negative means for coping with their own trauma.

Young people who harm animals are in need of help. Without it, they may grow into serious abusers as adults or develop other serious emotional problems.

Have you witnessed children abusing animals in your community? Do you know what to do if you do witness such acts? Are you willing to get involved to help the children and the animals?

I encourage you to do a little research to find out what resources are available in your community for youth in these situations. Contact your local law enforcement officials, children services organization, domestic violence shelter, Humane Society, etc., if you know of children who purposefully harm animals with malice. Ignoring the problem makes it worse, not better.

Taking action is for the children’s sake as much as it is for the animal’s sake.

(Contact the National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILDĀ® and theĀ  National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) to get information on resources in your area.)


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