The animal cruelty cycle
Children who abuse animals are up to three times more likely to be victims of abuse themselves.
The true prevalence of childhood animal abusers is unknown. Although, researchers report up to 44% of children have abused an animal as a child. The authors suspect the actual rate of childhood animal abusers is higher although parents may not report the incidents.
The study defines animal cruelty as “socially unacceptable behavior that intentionally causes unnecessary pain, suffering or distress to and/or death of an animal.” The type of animal is not defined.
Researchers published their findings in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. Specifically, they found that when a child older than 10-years-old is abusing animals it may indicate the child is abused.
Reports estimate 1 million animals are abused/killed in domestic violence incidents yearly
Reports of girls abusing animals are less prevalent than boys, although they suggest girls who abuse animals are part of a wider family abuse problem.
Other research shows childhood animal abusers are more likely to also harm people later in life.
The FBI correlates animal abuse with interpersonal, human-to-human violence.
For more, go to First They Tortured Animals, Then They Turned to Humans.