First They Tortured Animals, Then They Turned To Humans!

Jeffrey Dahmer. Ted Bundy. David Berkowitz. Aside from killing dozens of innocent people (combined), these men—and significant percentage of other serial killers—have something else in common: Years before turning their rage on human beings, they practiced on animals.

TED BUNDY

According to the FBI, animal abuse is highly correlated with interpersonal, human-to-human violence. Serial killers often torture or kill small animals from an early age, and men who commit child abuse or domestic violence very frequently harm household pets as well. “If somebody is harming an animal, there is a good chance they’re also hurting a human,” said John Thompson, deputy executive director of the National Sheriff’s Association, in a 2016 interview.

A&E Real Crime spoke to Dr. Chris Hensley, associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, for some insight on why these two behaviors are linked—and what we can do about it.

Why do people hurt animals in the first place?
People who harm animals go after someone they perceive as weaker. Many serial killers feel a sense of rejection from their parents or from someone they love; there’s either a perceived rejection or a real rejection. Rather than going after the person who rejected them, they’ll start with something that’s weaker, and often that’s an animal. It’s a matter of power.

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND HUMAN VIOLENCE

At what point does it progress to human beings?
Some research suggests there’s ‘graduation’ hypothesis, where killers start with animals and move to human beings later—and it’s often someone they perceive to be weaker than they are: prostitutes, for example, or hitchhikers, or the elderly. Other people think that animal and human abuse starts at the same time, which is called ‘generalized deviance theory.’ That’s where a kid might hit another kid and then go home and smack their cat. I think it’s somewhere in the middle, a combination of both [theories].   Your research team asked prison inmates about their experience with animal abuse. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found?
Finding out that there’s a powerful link between bestiality (sexual relations between a human and an animal) and later interpersonal violence. We don’t know why there’s a connection there—it’s a fairly new area of study and there’s not a lot of literature, but what we know is people who commit bestiality at a young age are significantly more likely to commit interpersonal crime than those who don’t.

[Bestiality] is still rare, of course, but of the people who have committed it, they’re significantly more likely to go on to hurt human beings. Also people that have a method of abusing animals—like strangulation—usually use that same method in hurting human beings. [Serial killer] Henry Lee Lucas, for example, slit the throats of his animal victims as he was sexually abusing them, and then eventually did that with women.

How common is animal abuse? What are some warning signs?
Most studies since 1980 have shown a link between childhood animal cruelty and adult interpersonal violence. We also know that it can be co-concurrent with child abuse or elder abuse. It’s very common in a domestic-violence situation, especially if it’s the victim’s animal.

We’ve seen multiple cases where you have someone engaging in domestic violence that ends up not only killing the person they’re abusing, but then they go back and kill the pets as well. I think it’s because the pet is an extension of [the victim].

In Chattanooga, if you’re in a domestic-violence situation, we have a family-justice center that will allow survivors to stay there and there’s an animal hospital nearby that will board your pets for free.

What else are states or law-enforcement officers doing to keep animals safe?
Tennessee actually became the first state to have a registry—you can go online and look at who in the state has been convicted of animal cruelty, similar to sex-offender registration. Depending on the amount of cruelty, that person is prevented from owning animals. Tennessee is the only state that currently has one, but I know that the FBI is also looking at developing a database as well.

What else could states be doing?
It’s taking a long time for states to really look at the impact that childhood animal cruelty has on later violence. A lot of states have dragged their feet in making animal cruelty a felony, and there are some states that don’t have any laws on the books related to bestiality at all.

Around 2002 and 2003 a lot of states got rid of sodomy statutes, and those states would usually have bestiality underneath that umbrella of sodomy. Those laws became nullified so states had to write their own laws for bestiality specifically, and some haven’t been quick about doing that.

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How can we prevent animal abuse before it progresses into interpersonal violence?

To me, treatment is key for children who engage in animal cruelty. Oftentimes parents or caregivers will say “boys will be boys” or turn a blind eye to things, instead of admitting something is really wrong with their child. Most parents know when their kids are engaging in this behavior.

We need to say that any form of animal cruelty, should be unacceptable – if you see your kids doing it, that’s a warning sign, and something has to be done. If you see animals being mistreated please report it to the police.

Original story by Sarah Watts in A & E, Real Life Crime.

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I’m A Celebrity Bosses Ban Live Insects From Bushtucker Trials After Backlash From Animal Rights Groups.

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! bosses ‘banned the use of live insects for bushtucker trials’ after facing backlash from animal rights activists.

According to reports, the apparent change to the format of the show will remain a permanent fixture.

‘They have been planning this for some time,’ an insider claimed to the Mirror. ‘And actually, last year beach worms were the only critters eaten live but this time around they’ve decided to implement the change fully and permanently.’

This comes just days after animal rights activist Tayana Simons wrote a piece for Metro.co.uk calling for the use of all live animals in the programme’s trials to be banned.

In the column, Tayana writes: ‘Not only does this harm the animals involved, but it also normalises animal cruelty to audiences of millions, including young children.

‘This isn’t just a view shared by animal rights organisations such as Viva! which has campaigned against the show since it began, celebrities such as Chris Packham and Lucy Watson have also voiced their opposition to the use of animals in the trials.

Chris Packham’s Twitter post to I’m A Celebrity presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnely

‘The horrific scene of celebrity Ferne McCann eating a live spider received a massive 1,500 viewer complaints, while in 2010 the show was fined by the RSPCA in Australia for killing and cooking a rat purely for entertainment.

this celebrity ‘trial’ of Ferne McCann eating a live spider received 1,500 viewer complaints

‘The Bushtucker Trials epitomise a flippant disregard for non-human animal life which does not belong in this century. They need to end.

 ‘If the animals used in the show were socially valued animals such as cats or dogs, there would be an uproar at scenes of them being grabbed and flung by the neck, tossed around in overcrowded caves or having their body parts eaten on live TV.’

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The BARBARIC ‘Blood Sport’ Of Dog Fighting On The Increase In The UK.

Dogs are being mauled and left for dead as the blood ‘sport’ of dog fighting grips Britain.

Dog fighting was outlawed in England in 1835, but carries on in a secret underground world run by organised criminals.

The dog fights usually take place in backwater car parks, industrial units or farm buildings where grown men take bets while goading their pets to rip each other apart.

A Typical Dog-Fighting ‘Event’

Many of the dogs used in fighting will have broken bones, missing teeth and serious injuries to their head, ears, front legs and chest as they are forced to fight to the death, going head-to-head in a pit. Many, including Staffordshire Terriers, English bull terriers and American Pitbulls among some banned breeds, are forced to fight and then left to die, never receiving proper veterinary treatment in case their owners get rumbled. 

Some pets have even been found to be pumped up with steroids to make them more aggressive. Smaller, weaker dogs named bait dogs are used to teach fighting dogs the ropes and get severely injured in the process. 

According to the League Against Cruel Sports, dog fighting operates at three levels.

Street rolling is when dogs are forced into spontaneous fights in parks and housing estates.

Then there is the amateur rings, often involving lower level criminals.

Meanwhile professional dog fighters are often dangerous hard men with links to serious organised crime.

Strict training regimes and rules apply and large sums of cash are wagered on the outcome of fights that typically last from 30 minutes to two hours.

In all these cases, the animal’s interests are put last.

A Dog Covered In The Blood Of Its ‘Opponent’

Sadly, many of the dogs used by dog fighters are never found and those who are rescued are often found to be banned breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act and cannot legally be rehomed.

Others need experienced dog owners to give them a second chance at life.

The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) has also been leading work in the UK and Europe into tackling this barbaric blood sport.

In 2018 the LACS received around dogfighting to a confidential hotline alone, while the RSPCA had a shocking 8,000 reports in just four years from 2015 to 2018.

A Dog Is held By It’s ‘Trainer’

Greater London has the highest number of reported crimes, followed by the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.

Mike Butcher, the RSPCA‘s dog fighting expert said: “Dog fighting is a cruel and barbaric practice that has no place in modern day society.

“Dogs who win fights are prized and are often treated like Kings. But those who refuse to fight or lose are often abandoned or barbarically killed.

“The dog fighting world is a dark and frightening place. But it could be happening in an inner-city warehouse next door to your office or on a rural farm in your quiet village.

“We’d urge the public to be our eyes and ears and report anything suspicious to us to investigate.”

If you suspect dog fighting near you, call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999, or The League Against Cruel Sports’ animal crimewatch line on 01483 361 108.

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A Victim Of Dog-Fighting Recovering From His Injuries

Senate Unanimously Passes PACT Act, Which Will Make Animal Cruelty A Federal Felony!

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT Act, bans abusive behavior including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and other bodily injury toward any non-humans.

The bill was introduced by two Florida congressmen, Democrat Ted Deutch and Republican Vern Buchanan, in January. It was approved Tuesday by a voice vote.

Representatives Ted Deutch, left, and Vern Buchanan, sponsors of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT), in Washington in July. The House unanimously approved the bill.

The PACT Act expands the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which was passed by Congress in 2010 and made the creation and distribution of animal crushing videos illegal. However, the new act closes a loophole by prohibiting the underlying acts of animal abuse, according to the office of Congressman Deutch

“There’s no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals – period,” said Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who is a co-sponsor of the Senate bill. Current federal law prohibits animal fighting and only criminalizes animal cruelty if the wrongdoers create and sell videos depicting the act. Under the PACT Act, a person can be prosecuted for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling animals and sexually exploiting them. Those convicted would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison.”I’m glad Congress is finally sending the PACT Act to the President’s desk to be signed into law,” Blumenthal said.Right now, all 50 states have laws in their books against animal cruelty on the state level. If President Trump signs the bill, authorities can go after the wrongdoers because they will have federal jurisdiction and will not be bound by state laws. They can also prosecute criminals if the cruelty occurs on federal property.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund called Tuesday’s Senate vote a well-deserved victory. “We’ve made the case for this measure for many years, and view it as one of the largest victories for animals in a long time,” President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States Kitty Block said. She went on “Over the course of 30 years in animal protection, I have encountered terrible animal cruelties, but acts of intentional torture are the most disturbing because they demonstrate how some people treat the most vulnerable in our society,” . “Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla) are tremendous advocates for animal protection, and we thank them for their leadership in closing this important gap in the law.”

The bill has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.