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Psychosocial Aspects of Selecting Animal Species for Physical Abuse

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Abstract

Identification of psychosocial factors in selecting animals for abuse is relevant to mankind's relationship to the world of animals and to the psychology of human aggression. A major study of animal abuse involving 152 male subjects resulted in the identification of 23 subjects who have histories of substantial animal abuse. In attempting to identify psychosocial factors that may affect recurrent abusers' choices of animals to mistreat, findings are presented under four thematic questions: (1) Are animals selected for abuse because they are perceived to be dangerous? (2) Is there a relationship between method of abuse and type of animal selected for cruelty? (3) Are some types of animals more likely than others to evoke predisposing attitudes and abusive behaviors? (4) What kind of relationships do abusers have with the animals they choose to mistreat?

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... Traumatic injuries are common in dogs and cats, representing an important health hazard in the animal's life. The outcome following a traumatic event in the animal's life, depends on multiple factors, the most common ones being the cause of trauma, the location of the trauma and the amount of kinetic energy and the way it was distributed to the animal, but also human activities and lifestyles, human-pet relationships and pet-management local strategies (Felthous and Kellert, 1987; Kolata and Johnston, 1975). Trauma, as an important extrinsic cause of death in dogs and cats, is closely related to human activities and owner-pet relationships (Huang et al., 2018). ...
... When animal abusers were interviewed and asked where they prefer to hit the animals the majority sustained that the most preferred regions were the head or in the thoracic area (Felthous, 1980). Other studies reported that cats tend to be more abused than dogs (even if the official data provided by the veterinarian's states that the number of abused dogs is higher than the number of cats) (Felthous, 1980;Felthous and Kellert, 1987;Huang et al., 2018). We found that irrespective of the species and age group dogs and cats were subjected in the same extent to abuses. ...
... We found that irrespective of the species and age group dogs and cats were subjected in the same extent to abuses. This may be because the abused cats tend to disappear or die rather than being brought to the veterinarian (Felthous and Kellert, 1987). ...
Article
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Traumatic injuries are a major health hazard having an important impact in animals' welfare. The outcome following a traumatic event in the animal's life, depends on multiple factors, the most common ones being the cause of trauma, the location of the trauma and the amount of kinetic energy and the way it was distributed to the animal, but also human activities and lifestyles, human-pet relationships and pet-management local strategies. This retrospective study aims to evaluate the impact of traumatic injuries in 4626 dogs and cats that presented to the Surgical Department from the USAMVBT's Veterinary Hospital between 2000 and 2020. The most frequent traumatic injuries were represented by road traffic accidents, young animals under 1 year of age being more prone than other age groups χ2(4, N=4626) =43, p<.001 and dogs being more affected than cats χ2(1, N=4626) =107.66, p<.001. Although non-accidental injuries had a low frequency in our study, there is a tendency of misdistribution these cases in the other categories like road traffic accidents. By reporting non-accidental injuries, it could provide a better understanding and better perspective on the real number of abused animals.
... This abuse against cats was attributed to their physical and behavioral characteristics, making them targets for those who are likely to practice acts of violence against humans. 23 Therefore, it has been demonstrated that detecting, prosecuting and punishing cruelty towards animals is of important concern to society. 2,3 Discovery of animal cruelty can cause an ethical dilemma for veterinarians because reporting the abuse may interfere with the relationship between the owner and pet, and may betray professional confidentiality. ...
... 18,35 Studies have shown that serial killers and other violent criminals often began their criminal activities by murdering pets -mainly cats and dogs. 23 The macroscopic lesions found in non-accidental injuries were carefully analyzed and the cases of poisoning were confirmed by toxicological screening. However, in the case of blunt-force trauma, even if an owner reported that there was not an accident or high-rise syndrome, we could not dismiss such cases. ...
... In the case of malicious actions, these lesions frequently occur when the animal is kicked, trampled, struck with hard objects or thrown against walls. 9,10,19,22,23 In live animals, accurate clinical examination combined with a history of abuse, such as repetitive bone fractures and the observation of the animal's behavior in the presence of its owner, is crucial to support a case of cruelty. 9,10 The role of the veterinary pathologist and the clinician in recognizing non-accidental injuries should be reevaluated because it may provide crucial evidence in the prosecution of animal cruelty. ...
Article
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Animal cruelty is defined as a deliberate action that causes pain and suffering to an animal. In Brazil, legislation known as the Environmental Crimes Law states that cruelty toward all animal species is criminal in nature. From 644 domestic cats necropsied between January 1998 and December 2009, 191 (29.66%) presented lesions highly suggestive of animal cruelty. The main necroscopic finding was exogenous carbamate poisoning (75.39%) followed by blunt-force trauma (21.99%). Cats from 7 months to 2 years of age were the most affected (50.79%). In Brazil, violence is a public health problem and there is a high prevalence of domestic violence. Therefore, even if laws provide for animal welfare and protection, animals are common targets for violent acts. Within a context of social violence, cruelty toward animals is an important parameter to be considered, and the non-accidental lesions that were found are evidence of malicious actions.
... Cats, second only to dogs as the most commonly owned pets, are victims of cultural prejudice. Felthous and Kellert (1987) found that the 16 aggressive criminals -who had substantial animal cruelties in childhood -were more likely to have abused cats -who suffered a greater variety of cruelties -than any other animal. ...
... Dogs, cats, and small animals (rabbits, birds, rodents, and reptiles) are the most common victims of animal cruelty (Arluke & Luke, 1997;Flynn, 1999b). Felthous and Kellert's (1987) study of adult men (mostly aggressive criminals) who had perpetrated animal cruelty in childhood found that typically their target animals were harmless vertebrates. Few reported abusing animals because they were dangerous or because the animal had attacked them. ...
... Few reported abusing animals because they were dangerous or because the animal had attacked them. As the authors noted, "Harmless vertebrate animals are handier, safer, and more plentiful than dangerous vertebrates" (Felthous & Kellert, 1987, p. 1716. ...
Article
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Sociologists have largely ignored the role of animals in society. This article argues that human-animal interaction is a topic worthy of sociological consideration and applies a sociological analysis to one problematic aspect of human-animal relationships - animal cruelty. The article reformulates animal cruelty, traditionally viewed using a psychopathological model, from a sociological perspective.The article identifies social and cultural factors related to the occurrence of animal cruelty. Ultimately, animal cruelty is a serious social problem that deserves attention in its own right, not just because of its association with human violence.
... One study reported that of 18 subjects who tortured dogs or cats, 12 specifically tortured cats, 5 tortured cats and dogs, and only 1 specifically tortured dogs (25). In another study, interviews with 84 prisoners showed that the greatest variety of cruelties involved cats compared to all other types of animals, and cruelties to dogs were also less severe (26). The large number of dogs compared to cats in the two surveys of veterinarians about NAI (10,11) may be due to the tendency of cat abuse to result in disappearance and/or death of the cat rather than presentation to a veterinarian (26). ...
... In another study, interviews with 84 prisoners showed that the greatest variety of cruelties involved cats compared to all other types of animals, and cruelties to dogs were also less severe (26). The large number of dogs compared to cats in the two surveys of veterinarians about NAI (10,11) may be due to the tendency of cat abuse to result in disappearance and/or death of the cat rather than presentation to a veterinarian (26). ...
... Several factors have been suggested to influence the type of animal that an individual chooses to physically abuse, including availability and behavior of the species, social attitude toward that species, and suitability of physical features for abuse (26)(27)(28). Interestingly, abusers do not seem to preferentially select dangerous species (26). ...
Article
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Motor vehicle accidents (MVA) are often difficult to distinguish from non-accidental injury (NAI). This retrospective case–control study compared animals with known MVA trauma against those with known NAI. Medical records of 426 dogs and cats treated after MVA and 50 after NAI were evaluated. Injuries significantly associated with MVA were pelvic fractures, pneumothorax, pulmonary contusion, abrasions, and degloving wounds. Injuries associated with NAI were fractures of the skull, teeth, vertebrae, and ribs, scleral hemorrhage, damage to claws, and evidence of older fractures. Odds ratios are reported for these injuries. MVA rib fractures were found to occur in clusters on one side of the body, with cranial ribs more likely to fracture, while NAI rib fractures were found to occur bilaterally with no cranial–caudal pattern. Establishing evidence-based patterns of injury may help clinicians differentiate causes of trauma and may aid in the documentation and prosecution of animal abuse.
... Traumatic injuries are common in dogs and cats, representing an important health hazard in the animal's life. The outcome following a traumatic event in the animal's life, depends on multiple factors, the most common ones being the cause of trauma, the location of the trauma and the amount of kinetic energy and the way it was distributed to the animal, but also human activities and lifestyles, human-pet relationships and pet-management local strategies (Felthous and Kellert, 1987; Kolata and Johnston, 1975). Trauma, as an important extrinsic cause of death in dogs and cats, is closely related to human activities and owner-pet relationships (Huang et al., 2018). ...
... When animal abusers were interviewed and asked where they prefer to hit the animals the majority sustained that the most preferred regions were the head or in the thoracic area (Felthous, 1980). Other studies reported that cats tend to be more abused than dogs (even if the official data provided by the veterinarian's states that the number of abused dogs is higher than the number of cats) (Felthous, 1980;Felthous and Kellert, 1987;Huang et al., 2018). We found that irrespective of the species and age group dogs and cats were subjected in the same extent to abuses. ...
... We found that irrespective of the species and age group dogs and cats were subjected in the same extent to abuses. This may be because the abused cats tend to disappear or die rather than being brought to the veterinarian (Felthous and Kellert, 1987). ...
Article
Traumatic injuries are a major health hazard having an important impact in animals’ welfare. The outcome following a traumatic event in the animal’s life, depends on multiple factors, the most common ones being the cause of trauma, the location of the trauma and the amount of kinetic energy and the way it was distributed to the animal, but also human activities and lifestyles, human-pet relationships and pet-management local strategies. This retrospective study aims to evaluate the impact of traumatic injuries in 4626 dogs and cats that presented to the Surgical Department from the USAMVBT’s Veterinary Hospital between 2000 and 2020. The most frequent traumatic injuries were represented by road traffic accidents, young animals under 1 year of age being more prone than other age groups χ2(4, N=4626) =43, p<.001 and dogs being more affected than cats χ2(1, N=4626) =107.66, p<.001. Although non-accidental injuries had a low frequency in our study, there is a tendency of misdistribution these cases in the other categories like road traffic accidents. By reporting non-accidental injuries, it could provide a better understanding and better perspective on the real number of abused animals.
... Retrospective analysis among incarcerated males and females demonstrates that the commission of cruelty against an animal has been linked to criminal violence and other criminal behaviors (Currie, 2006). Suggested motivations for animal abuse include: "control of an animal, retaliation against an animal, satisfying a prejudice against a species or breed, expressing aggression through an animal, enhancing one's own aggressiveness, shocking people for amusement, retaliating against another person, displacing hostility from a person to an animal, and nonspecific sadism" (Felthous & Kellert, 1987, p. 1713). As we can see, many of these reasons provide significant support for the importance of early identification of perpetrators of these actions and the design of appropriate interventions particularly during youth. ...
... If behavior is impacted by environment and exposures, it is important to attempt to understand the motivations for engaging in this conduct rather than simply focusing on the outcome of animal violence (McPhedran, 2009). Felthous and Kellert (1987) identified five themes which may be related to the modeling and experience of violence within the home: (1) control, (2) retaliation, (3) the expression and enhancement of aggression, (4) displacing hostility, and (5) general sadism. Possible motivations may also include peer pressure, sexual motivation, and posttraumatic processing (Ascione, 1997;McPhedran, 2009). ...
Chapter
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The value of humane educational programs in the relationship with animals, humans, and violence, in general, has been demonstrated. However, a nationwide program has not been established, and most of the interventions around the world are based in programs developed by humane associations, whose success evaluations in general lack of a rigorous methodology. However, few studies with robust methodology support some of these programs. Among these papers, authors concluded that (1) effective short-term courses can vary in length from 30 min to 40 h distributed during one semester; (2) children exposed to these programs generalize animal empathy with human-directed empathy; (3) children between 6 and 13 years of age are able to learn about humane behavior toward animals and humans through role-play, printed materials, and lectures, which have a synergistic effect; (4) short-term humane education programs can be effective and sustainable over the long term; and (5) children’s stage of development affects humane learning. This chapter is a review of some of the successful, short-term interventions published in the scientific literature.
... Despite a half century of research that has established animal cruelty as an important indicator of mental illness and a possible factor contributing to adult violence against humans, very few studies have been conducted examining specific methods of animal cruelty (Felthous & Kellert, 1987a, 1987bMerz-Perez & Heide, 2003;Merz-Perez et al., 2001). Research examining these understudied dynamics of animal cruelty is critical to understanding further the complex relationship between animal cruelty and later violence against humans. ...
... As discussed by previous researchers (Felthous & Kellert, 1987a, 1987bMerz-Perez et al., 2001), an examination of a wider range of factors affecting animal cruelty may further our understanding of animal cruelty and, perhaps, how the abuse of animals may or may not lead to later violence against animals and humans. Although the few previous studies conducted identify animal cruelty methods used, researchers had not yet used them in quantitative analyses for understanding animal cruelty itself or as it may portend of later adult violence (Felthous, 1980;Kellert & Felthous, 1985;Merz-Perez & Heide, 2003). ...
Article
Studies investigating the specific methods for committing nonhu-man animal cruelty have only begun to expose the complexities of this particular form of violence. This study used a sample of 261 male inmates surveyed at both medium-and maximum-secu-rity prisons. The study examined the influence of demographic attributes (race, education, and residence while growing up). It also examined situational factors (was the abuse committed alone, did abuser try to conceal the act, was abuser upset by the abuse, what was the perpetrator's age at initial animal cruelty, how fre-quent was the animal abuse?) and specific methods of animal cru-elty (shooting, drowning, hitting or kicking, choking, burning, sex). Regression analyses revealed that white inmates tended to shoot animals more frequently than did non-whites and were less likely to be upset or cover up their actions. Respondents who had sex with animals were more likely to have acted alone and to con-ceal their cruelty toward animals. However, we failed to find sup-port for a potential link between childhood and adolescent animal cruelty methods and later violence against humans.
... 1121). Felthous and Kellert's (1987) subsequent study focused on the method of animal abuse. Shooting (n = 14) was found to be the most prevalent method of animal abuse followed by stoning (n = 11), beating (n = 10), and throwing from heights (n = 10), respectively. ...
... This is a finding that other researchers have also discovered and one that Felthous and Kellert (1987) argued was necessary for understanding the complexities of animal cruelty (see also Tallichet & Hensley, 2004). However, unlike the other two studies that we are replicating, we did not find that sex with animals was predictive of later interpersonal violence. ...
Article
Research on the topic of childhood animal cruelty methods and their link to interpersonal violence is sparse. Most of the studies that do exist focus only on the frequencies of different methods of childhood animal cruelty. Only two studies to date have examined the predictive nature of these methods for later violence toward humans. One of these previous studies found that drowning and having sex with animals were predictive of later human violence, while the other found that sex with animals and the age at which the offenders began committing animal cruelty were its only statistically significant predictors. Using data collected from 257 anonymous self‐reports by male inmates at a medium‐security prison in a Southern state, we investigate the predictive ability of several retrospectively identified childhood animal cruelty methods (i.e., drowning, hitting/beating, hitting with rocks, shooting, kicking, choking, burning, stabbing, having sex, and starving/neglecting) for later violent crimes toward humans. Regression analyses revealed that recurrent (i.e., more than once) childhood animal cruelty and stabbing animals were the only statistically significant variables in the model that predicted recurrent interpersonal violence in adulthood.
... 714). Such an argument is consistent with moral disengagement theory and its relevance is supported by findings reported by Felthous and Kellert [19]. They investigated psychosocial factors in animal abuse based on reports of 23 participants with a history of substantial animal abuse and found that participant reports indicated attitudes toward the animals they had abused as being " worthless objects, hated objects, or narcissistic objects " (p. ...
Article
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This paper reviews current findings in the human aggression and antisocial behaviour literature and those in the animal abuse literature with the aim of highlighting the overlap in conceptualisation. The major aim of this review is to highlight that the co-occurrence between animal abuse behaviours and aggression and violence toward humans can be logically understood through examination of the research evidence for antisocial and aggressive behaviour. From examination through this framework, it is not at all surprising that the two co-occur. Indeed, it would be surprising if they did not. Animal abuse is one expression of antisocial behaviour. What is also known from the extensive antisocial behaviour literature is that antisocial behaviours co-occur such that the presence of one form of antisocial behaviour is highly predictive of the presence of other antisocial behaviours. From such a framework, it becomes evident that animal abuse should be considered an important indicator of antisocial behaviour and violence as are other aggressive and antisocial behaviours. The implications of such a stance are that law enforcement, health and other professionals should not minimize the presence of animal abuse in their law enforcement, prevention, and treatment decisions.
... Building on these earlier surveys, Felthous and Kellert (1987) provided a systematic review of the choice of animals for abuse based on interviews with 84 prisoners in two penitentiaries. The greatest variety of cruelties had been inflicted on cats (thirty-three different forms of abuse were described), and most subjects who had abused cats used several different methods. ...
... In later studies of college students [7,8,31], it was found that animal cruelty is about four times more common among males than females. Similarly, in samples of youth receiving clinical services [32,33] and retrospective studies of criminals [34,35], male perpetrators predominated. ...
... Such an analysis will provide a valuable forensic tool in investigating cases where suspects have not yet been identified. Felthous and Kellert (1987a) describe certain offender "preferences" in their choice of animal victims, such as the preference for victimization of cats by young male offenders with histories of physical or sexual assaults. Similarly, we are more likely to see certain forms of intentional abuse of small companion animals (e.g. ...
... Building on these earlier surveys, Felthous and Kellert (1987) provided a systematic review of the choice of animals for abuse based on interviews with 84 prisoners in two penitentiaries. The greatest variety of cruelties had been inflicted on cats (thirty-three different forms of abuse were described), and most subjects who had abused cats used several different methods. ...
... At the same time, more nuanced approaches demonstrate the field has moved beyond establishing that the link exists to considering specifically how it might manifest. For example, across different species of animal as victims (e.g., Felthous & Kellert, 1987;Tallichet, Hensley, O'Bryan & Hassel, 2005) and/or how to intervene and prevent both human and animal directed aggression, cruelty and abuse (Vermeulen & Odendaal, 1993). A cornerstone of this interventionist approach has been to identify factors that lead to animal abuse in the first place (e.g., Walters & Noon, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Research into the interaction between deliberate harm of animals and potential risk for human directed violence has burgeoned in the past two decades. In light of an underlying premise that attitudes are predictive of behavior, a number of researchers have examined demographic and personality variables that affect attitudes to, and by extrapolation behaviors towards, animals. One particularly active topic of research in this area is the potential relation between human-directed empathy and attitudes to animals, with researchers consistently finding that those with higher human-directed empathy scores tend to hold more pro-animal welfare attitudes. The current study adds to this literature by evaluating the effect of different animal types (Pet, Pest or Profit) in this overall animal attitude/human-directed empathy relationship with a large (n=1606), community-based, Australian sample. As anticipated, attitudes towards animals in the Pet category were significantly more pro-welfare than for either Pest or Profit animals and women indicated more pro-welfare attitudes across all three than men. The strength and significance of the relation between human-directed empathy and attitudes to animals varied across Pet, Pest and Profit animal categories and affective vs cognitive empathy. The strongest correlation was found between Pet and the Empathic Concern subscale of the Davis Interpersonal Reactivity Index. The implications of these differences for the previously observed link between attitudes to animals and empathy, humane education and future research directions are discussed.
... Previous studies support this finding, which has been attributed to the availability of ownerless cats, increased feline social independence, and hence less submissive behaviour, or certain feline physical features e.g. long tails, small size (Felthous 1981;Felthous and Kellert 1987;Lockwood 2005). ...
Article
This thematic review examines the literature regarding the relationship between domestic violence (DV) and pet abuse (PA) particularly in the veterinary clinical and educational contexts. It examines the significance of this relationship for the veterinary profession including the veterinarian’s role and associated legal and ethical obligations, and relevant current veterinary education standards, to identify future clinical and educational directions. Articles were sourced from online databases by searching the keywords without date restrictions. Overall, 70 articles were retrieved and reviewed. Pet abuse has been identified as a potential risk factor for DV, and DV perpetrators may harm or kill a pet to exert physical, psychological and/or emotional control over an intimate partner. Given that victims of DV often seek veterinary aid for their pets, veterinarians may act as frontline professionals in the recognition of the link between PA and DV. Veterinarians must assess individual cases for diagnostic indicators of non-accidental injury and consider demographic factors to identify suspected PA and DV. Despite existing legal and ethical obligations of the veterinarian relating to suspected PA and victims of DV, veterinarians have uncertainty and unpreparedness in addressing PA and DV in a clinical context. Many factors may contribute to the lack of veterinary intervention in suspected cases of PA and DV including concern for animal welfare, confusion about the reporting process and uncertainty in differentiating accidental versus non-accidental injuries in pets. Specific published guidelines regarding the recognition and reporting of PA and DV in the veterinary clinical context are required. Limited published evidence exists examining the implementation and success of veterinary training regarding the relationship between DV and PA. Ultimately, veterinary student education is needed to prepare veterinarians for their response to PA and DV in practice. Further research is required to examine the effects of the delivery of content, regarding the link between PA and DV, in the veterinary curriculum on veterinary student knowledge and attitudes.
... According to Levin and Arluke's (2009) research on sadistic serial killers and Hensley and Tallichet's (2009) research on violent adult criminals in general, a certain type of animal cruelty likely foreshadows this kind of violence. Torturing animals in an up-close and personal wayespecially animals like dogs and cats that are frequently targeted for abuse (Felthous, 1981;Felthous & Kellert, 1987) and that have been heavily anthropomorphized in our culturehas been identified as a more apt red flag of this form of extreme violence than everyday animal abuse. ...
Article
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Researchers have extensively studied the tendency of certain violent criminals to hurt or torture animals, primarily focusing on domestic abusers and serial killers. However, little is known about the extent or nature of prior animal abuse among active shooters and public mass shooters. Public mass and active shooters essentially represent a single offender type: they are people who commit rampage attacks in public places and attempt to harm multiple victims beyond a single target. The only difference is that “mass” shootings are traditionally defined as cases resulting in the death of four or more victims, while “active” shootings have no minimum threshold. This study aimed to identify all publicly reported cases of active and mass shooters who engaged in animal cruelty, describe the nature of their violence toward animals and humans, and examine how they differ from other perpetrators without this history. Overall, this study found 20 cases of offenders with a publicly reported history of animal abuse. Comparisons between offenders with and without this history indicated that animal‐abusing offenders were more likely to be young and White, less likely to die at the crime scene, and more likely to kill and wound a large number of victims. While this finding supports the idea that animal abuse might be a warning sign for a small but deadly minority of mostly youthful offenders, it is likely not a robust signal of future shooters in general because animal abuse is rarely reported in this population of offenders at large.
... To expand upon this, wolves' behaviors display their ''animality''; a term Kant (1793, p. 673, first author's translation) employed to substantiate an inclination toward ''wild lawlessness.' ' Felthous and Kellert (1987) claim that when compared with peoples' striving for control, the wild lawlessness embodied by wolves verges on evilness. Moreover, wolves evade human control and instead may seem to be living a kind of ''satanic freedom'' 2 . ...
Article
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In this paper we consider the negative sentiments surrounding the return of the wolf to Central Europe. Management plans devised to facilitate human-wolf coexistence have largely focused on wolf biology and the economic implications of the wolf’s presence in attempts to inform people and address practical concerns. Yet, many peoples' attitudes towards wolves do not seem in accord with biologically based knowledge. In this essay, we argue that there are deeply rooted implicit beliefs and feelings that mitigate against a rationally based understanding of, and coexistence between, humans and wolves in Central Europe. Specifically, we propose that negative feelings towards wolves are in part associated with aspects of actual wolf behavior, which correspond to the human understanding the notion evil. This correspondence appears to give rise to the stereotype of a Big Bad Wolf that may help fuel the heated societal debates about wolves. To conclude we propose that in order to better understand human-wolf relationships information about cultural stereotypes need to be taken into account. Furthermore, we suggest that consideration of these stereotypes may help inform the debate around human-wolf coexistence.
Article
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In Western research, cruelty to animals in childhood has been associated with comorbid conduct problems and with interpersonal violence in later life. However, there is little understanding of the etiology of cruelty to animals, and what in the child's life may require attention if the chain linking animal cruelty and later violence is to be broken. The study reported in this paper investigated the association between parent-reported cruelty to animals, and parent- and self-reported psychological strengths and weaknesses in a sample of 379 elementary school children in an Eastern context, Malaysia. No gender differences were found in relation to cruelty to animals or psychological problems, as assessed with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). However, there were different predictors of cruelty to animals for boys and girls. Regression analyses found that for boys, parent-reported hyperactivity was a unique predictor of Malicious and Total Cruelty to animals. For girls, self-reported conduct problems was a unique predictor of Typical Cruelty to animals. Parent-reported total difficulties were associated with Typical, Malicious, and Total Cruelty to animals. We suggest that routine screening of children with an instrument such as the SDQ may help to detect those children who may need to undergo further assessment and perhaps intervention to break the chain linking childhood cruelty to animals and later conduct problems.
Article
Conduct disorder (CD) affects 2-9% of children in this country and has been found to be relatively stable through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. Although many behaviors that comprise CD have been studied, there has been a lack of research on cruelty to animals. It has been suggested that animal cruelty may be exhibited by 25% of CD children and that animal abuse may be the earliest symptom evident in CD children. In addition, several studies have found a significant relationship between childhood cruelty to animals and violence toward people. Available research is reviewed in this report, including early studies on the relationship between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence, recent assessment attempts, and intervention techniques. Future research needs are also outlined and discussed.
Article
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Childhood cruelty to animals is a symptom of conduct disorder that has been linked to the perpetration of violence in later life. Research has identified several factors associated with its etiology, including social factors. However, no cross-cultural studies on this phenomenon have been reported. This study investigated childhood cruelty to animals in Japan, Australia and Malaysia. Parents of 1,358 children between the ages of 5 and 13 years completed the Children's Attitudes and Behaviours towards Animals questionnaire (CABTA) which assesses Typical and Malicious Cruelty to animals. Analyses revealed no overall differences between children from these countries on either scale. However, younger boys were more likely to be cruel than younger girls in each country, and younger children in Australia and Japan were more likely to be cruel that older children in those countries. The findings are discussed in relation to previous research, and recommendations for future studies are suggested.
Article
Recent research has begun to establish a relationship between childhood acts of animal cruelty and later violence against humans. However, few studies have focused on the influence of animal cruelty methods on later interpersonal violence. In a replication of a study by Hensley and Tallichet (2009) and based on a sample of 180 inmates at medium- and maximum-security prisons in a Southern state, the present study examines the relationship between several retrospectively identified animal cruelty methods (drowned, hit, shot, kicked, choked, burned, and sex) and interpersonal violence committed against humans. Four out of 5 inmates reported hitting animals. Over one third of the sample chose to shoot or kick animals, while 1 in 5 had sex with them. Less then one fifth of the sample drowned or choked animals, while less than one sixth of the inmates burned animals. Regression analyses revealed that the age at which offenders began committing animal cruelty and having sex with animals were predictive of adult interpersonal violence.
Article
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The relation between animal maltreatment and interpersonal violence has long been of interest to developmental psychologists, psychiatrists, law enforcement officials, criminologists, and others from related disciplines who concluded that the motivation behind these atrocities is a deep-seated need for power and control that stems from inadequacy. The culprit begins by practising on animals, before graduating to humans, mainly women. In 1843, Edgar Allan Poe saw the potential significance of cruelty to animals as a precursor to future violence against humans and brought it to life through his short story "The Black Cat." The narrator begins his reign of terror by practising on cats (women stand-ins) until he summons enough courage to murder the real source of his misery—his spouse. The story is artistically coherent if understood in terms of cruelty to animals as an unfavourable prognostic sign characteristic of those who will kill. Until now, animal cruelty in Poe’s tale received relatively little attention from literary critics. To date, no inquiry has put forward a theory regarding the abuse of animals and its relation to homicide. Hence, this study proposes to look into this disturbing phenomenon and to complement the Poe scholarship.
Research
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This represents one of several sections of "A Bibliography Related to Crime Scene Interpretation with Emphases in Geotaphonomic and Forensic Archaeological Field Techniques, Nineteenth Edition" (The complete bibliography is also included at ResearchGate.net.). This is the most recent edition of a bibliography containing resources for multiple areas of crime scene, and particularly outdoor crime scene, investigations. It replaces the prior edition and contains approximately 10,000 additional citations. As an ongoing project, additional references, as encountered, will be added to future editions. The impact of one’s culture on daily activities is inescapable. That impact, whether conscious or not, must in some ways extend to the commission of crimes as well as victim reactions. The compiler witnessed this in the investigation of the abduction and murder of a young Bosnian girl who had resettled in the United States with more than 8,000 other refugees from the Balkan Wars of the early 1990s. The ease with which her neo-Nazi murderer was able to enter the homes of the Bosnian refugees, and ultimately kidnap this victim, was partly the result of the cultural experiences of the victimized families who feared law enforcement in their home country and so were reluctant to report the preadtor who introduced himself into their community as a health inspector. This category includes citations beyond those about death rituals and includes references about criminal psychology, cultural studies, and forensic psychiatry. A greater understanding of the psychological and cultural motivation subjects might have in committing crimes will impact approaches to searching for, and processing, evidence. One need not be a behavioral scientist or criminal profiler to realize that a subject diagnosed with paranoia might dispose of a victim in a manner different than a sociopath. An example of cultural influence in the selection of a victim’s disposal site is the case of Jeremiah James Bringsplenty. Accounts of this 1992 case included that of the abuse and murder of Jeremiah by family acquaintances who were babysitting the infant in his Clarksville, Tennessee home. Both the victim and the subjects were of Native American ancestry. The subjects left Tennessee for the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota with plans to bury Jeremiah near relatives. Because of decomposition, however, they were forced to stop outside Lincoln, Nebraska to bury the remains. This section also contains references valuable for investigators interviewing subjects and witnesses. This category and “General and Cultural Anthropology of Death” overlap to some degree. The examples or accounts examined in the resources within this section involve a spectrum of physical traumas which might befall victims of homicide or suicide. For that reason, the reader/research should also look in Taphonomy-Trauma for related citations. (3305 citations)
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We examined the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of both pet-abusing and non-pet-abusing perpetrators of family violence. Using data collected from victims residing at domestic violence shelters, results indicated that relative to their non-pet-abusing counterparts, pet-abusing batterers tend to less often show affection toward their pets, more often communicate with their pets only through commands and threats, more often view companion animals as property, are more likely to scapegoat their pets, and are more likely to have unrealistic expectations about their pets, more frequently punish their pets, and are more sensitive to stressful life events—particularly those perceived to be caused by the pet. We also queried respondents about batterers' past history with pets, the frequency and type of abuse inflicted on animals, the number of batterers who hunt, the frequency with which children witnessed abuse of the family pet, the impact of animal guardianship on decisions to remain with or return to the batterer, and where companion animals ended up when victims fled the batterer.
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This study investigates, for the first time, the concordance between mothers' and fathers' reports of cruelty to animals by their child. Seven hundred parental dyads recruited through schools in Chengdu, China, completed the Chinese version of the Children's Attitudes and Behaviors towards Animals scale. Mothers and fathers of boys reported more cruel behaviors towards animals on the part of their child than did mothers and fathers of girls. The correlations between mothers' and fathers' reports were significant, but moderate, but parents of boys' reports were more consistent than those of parents of girls. No gender-of-parent by gender-of-child effect was found, and fathers of boys reported significantly higher levels of total cruelty than did the boys' mothers. More studies are needed to assess childhood cruelty to animals in China, and to further examine the inter-parent agreement.
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This section presented studies that support the contention that evaluating the animal cruelty incident could be used to predict future violence toward humans. Kellert and Felthous (Hum Relat 38:1113–1129, 1985) indicated that direct engagement in animal cruelty, evidence of a lack of restraint, no remorse, multiple animal cruelty acts and multiple species, along with indicators that the animal cruelty was more planned and predatory in nature could indicate greater dangerousness.
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Associations between specific motivations for animal cruelty, particular methods of animal cruelty and different facets of impulsivity were explored among 130 undergraduate students. Participants completed an adapted version of the Boat Inventory on Animal-Related Experiences (BIARE) which asked participants to state whether they had intentionally harmed or killed an animal, the species of animal(s) involved, their motivations for harming or killing the animal(s) and the method(s) used. Participants also completed the Impulsive Behavior scale (UPPS-P) which assesses five facets of impulsivity. Over half of the sample (55%) reported committing at least one act of animal cruelty, and dogs were the most commonly abused species of animal. The most frequently reported motivations were Prejudice, Amusement, Control (of an animal), and Retaliation (against an animal), and the most frequently reported methods were Beating/Kicking, Squashing, Throwing an object at an animal, Shooting, Drowning and Burning. Significant associations were found between particular motivations and methods, as well as between particular methods of animal cruelty and facets of impulsivity. Findings have implications for theoretical models of animal cruelty perpetration as well as offender assessment and treatment.
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In the early 1960s, researchers began to examine the potential link between childhood animal cruelty and future interpersonal violence. Findings since then have been inconsistent in establishing a relationship between the two. This may be due to researchers failing to measure the recurrency of childhood animal abuse and the recurrency of later violent acts committed in adulthood. The current study, using data from 257 inmates at a medium-security prison in a Southern state, is a replication of research conducted by Tallichet and Hensley, and Hensley, Tallichet, and Dutkiewicz, which examined this recurrency issue. The only statistically significant predictor of recurrent adult interpersonal violence in this study was recurrent childhood animal cruelty. Inmates who engaged in recurrent childhood animal cruelty were more likely to commit recurrent adult interpersonal violence. Respondents' race, education, and childhood residence were not significant predictors of the outcome variable.
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Although research evidence suggests that violence against animals has been linked with the commission of future interpersonal violence, the idea is far from new and the results are sometimes unclear. Available research does document linkages between animal violence and behavioral issues such as conduct and antisocial personality disorders as well as correlations between violence within the home and abuse of companion animals. Recent acceptance of these results has led to various efforts including mandatory cross reporting, the inclusion of animals as victims in orders of protection, and the presence of animal-friendly shelters for victims of intimate partner violence. There is a growing acceptance of the concept that violence as well as the understanding that violence towards animals is an important predictor of an individual’s propensity for future assaults and his or her level of danger/lethality. Empirical evidence also suggests that the experience of animal violence is significantly more widespread than previously considered, although the factors that influence the commission of these acts are not currently well understood. Educators are placed in a unique position to influence behavior as well as to cultivate relationships and increase understanding of the links between animal and human violence. Likewise, they can serve to model appropriate animal interactions by including humane education within their classrooms.
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Few researchers have investigated the potentially predictive power of childhood and adolescent animal cruelty methods as they are associated with subsequent interpersonal violence in adulthood. Based on a sample of 261 inmates at medium- and maximum-security prisons in a southern state, the present study examines the relationship between several retrospectively reported animal cruelty methods (drowned, hit or kicked, shot, choked, burned, and had sex) and violent criminal acts committed against humans (assault, rape, and murder). More than half of the sample reported they had shot animals, and almost half had either kicked or hit them. About one in five said they had choked animals, and about one in seven said they had either drowned, burned, or had sex with them. Regression analyses revealed that drowning and having sex with an animal was predictive of later interpersonal violence as adults.
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Discusses scientific understanding of human perceptions of animals, using affective (feelings and emotions), cognitive (knowledge and factual understanding), and evaluative (beliefs and values) components to classify human perceptions of animals. These 3 aspects of human perception of animals are related to 4 basic areas of concern: basic attitudes toward animals; attitudes toward specific animal-related issues; knowledge and awareness of animals; and symbolic perceptions of animals. It is suggested that animals represent a metaphorical device for humans to express basic perceptions about the nonhuman world. Discussions of animal species lead to considerations of natural habitat and wildlife issues, which can become land-use questions. Thus, perceptions of animals often reflect broad facets of the relationship between humans and nature. Understanding of human perceptions of animals has implications for policy and management issues in 5 contexts of wildlife management: constituency identification, multiple-satisfactions management, resource allocation, social impact and trade-off analysis, and public awareness and environmental education. (66 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Some defendants charged with aggressive crimes against people have a history of psychotic perceptions and delusions involving their pet animals. Careful history of this phenomenon can contribute towards better understanding of a defendant's state of mind at the time of the alleged offense. Three case examples are presented and discussed.
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Current shifts in corrective and rehabilitation planning result in an emphasis upon primary prevention efforts involving early identification and intervention with vulnerable children who run high risk of serious adolescent and adult delinquency. A variety of observers have argued that the presence of a combination of observable problem behaviors documented in childhood is related to ego weakness and may have value as a predictor of explosive acting out in later life. The present study examines a number of institutionalized adolescent male delinquents whose recent history contains reference to a triad of behaviors (persistent enuresis, fire setting, and animal cruelty). Not only does the predictive validity of the triad appear to be supported, but the cases cited rank highest among overtly dangerous assaultive youth seen in the Southern California Youth Authority during the 12-month observation period. Presented is a summary of case history data supporting the hypothesis that the triad is a useful clinical tool in the prediction of violent behavior.