Jun 042012
 

We awakened today to the news that alleged killer Luka Rocco Magnotta has been arrested in a Berlin internet cafe. Accused of murdering and dismembering a man, filming his actions, and sending severed body parts to politicians, Canada’s most notorious criminal was the subject of a worldwide manhunt.

A collective sigh of relief can be heard echoing from continent to continent regarding his capture.

Magnotta’s grisly crime was foreshadowed by reports that he filmed his prior actions of killing kittens in a video posted on the web. Animal rights activists have been tracking him long before the crime that led to his most recent notoriety.

By many accounts, Magnotta was a deeply disturbed individual. His profile is both bizarre and grotesque. As we learn more about him, we are likely to find that his behavior and personality are well outside of what most of us could conceive as human.

Many notoriously bizarre killers abused and killed animals before they killed human beings. Jeffy Dahmer, comes to mind, as do Ted Bundy and David Berkowitz. As a result of this knowledge, we typically connote animal abuse with the most heinous of crimes. As we should.

Yet these types of crimes are rare (thank God). Other crimes that are linked to animal abuse are not. Child abuse and domestic violence occur every minute of the day.

Thankfully, few animal abusers go on to commit grisly murders. Many more than we can imagine, however, DO act out violently towards women and children and other vulnerable people in less known crimes.

As important as it is to take note of the links between animal abuse and serial killers, it is even more important to recognize the links to the more prevalent crimes of domestic violence and child abuse.

Children who harm animals need intervention. Not because they will grow up to be like Jeffrey Dahmer or Luka Rocco Magnotta, but because they are likely to grow up to be like the person(s) who abused them.

When animals are suffering in society, children are too. When there is violence to animals, there is likely violence to children and others who may be defenseless.

If you are aware of abuse to animals, please act and seek help. The animals deserve this, as do the humans who maybe subject to the abuser’s rage as well.

You may prevent a wayward person from becoming a serial killer, but more likely, you will prevent them from becoming a child or partner abuser.

And that is as important as anything.

BZTAT

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Jan 122011
 

I was interviewed on TPPCtv’s “Pets Teach Us So Much” blog talk radio show last Friday (follow the link to listen to the show). Robbie Everitt, one of the hosts asked me about serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer who are known to have started their killing sprees by harming animals.

I told her, yes, Dahmer was known to have tortured animals, and other mass murderers were known to have harmed animals. But it is not only the most extreme serial killers about whom we should be concerned. It is those people who are committing domestic violence regularly in their homes of whom we should be most concerned, as their actions are not as rare.

With information spilling out every day about the recent mass murder in Tucson, AZ and the alleged mass murderer, our fascination with the most extreme of human violence has again reached a fevered pitch. When someone does something so horrible and so dramatic as the Tuscon shooting, we cannot help but be intrigued.

There is still very little known about Jared Loughner, the alleged Tuscon killer. In regards to his relationship with animals, he reportedly enjoyed having his own pet dog, yet was relieved of his dog walking duties at a local animal shelter where he volunteered. According to news reports, he refused to stop walking dogs in an area that was contaminated with the parvovirus, a highly contagious and deadly disease for dogs.

I don’t know if that behavior puts Loughner in the category of what we would call an animal abuser. Certainly he was a troubled young man on many fronts.

But as attention grabbing as the headlines maybe of one person killing six and injuring 14 people, Loughner’s is not the only story of a troubled soul causing harm to others that has played out this week. As tragic as 9 year old Christina Green’s senseless death was, many other children have experienced violence over the past week–in their homes and in their communities. Their stories are going untold.

Yes, Jeffrey Dahmer and Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the DC Snipers, were known to have harmed animals in the lead up to their more serious crimes of serial murder. But these are the extremes that luckily, do not happen very frequently. Sadly, there are folks who are seemingly everyday people, possibly your neighbor or colleague, who DO perpetrate violence daily to animals, to children, to spouses and to romantic partners.

Their behaviors should be every bit as alarming as Loughner, Dahmer and Boyd.

When a person harms an animal, there is a strong likelihood that he or she will also harm defenseless human beings. In rare cases, that person may become a serial killer or mass murderer. In less rare cases, that person may become someone who causes severe emotional and physical pain to his/her family and loved ones. Both are serious, and both deserve our attention.

Will you help me get that message out there? Will you help me tell the stories that are going untold?

Certainly, we want to prevent troubled individuals from becoming mass murderers. But preventing animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence are primary concerns as well.

BZTAT

Please let me know if you know of a story that you would like to share of a child or other person who has been touched by violence, and whose story involves a connection between animal abuse and human interpersonal violence. I will be happy to share the story, and omit any identifying information at your request.