Dear Christopher Cat
One of my son’s friends has been shooting cats. I have alerted the boy’s parents, but how can I make my son understand the seriousness of his friend’s actions?
Your question comes at a good time, because April 18-24 is Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week.
Tell your son that shooting cats is against the law. In fact, acts of animal cruelty are felonies and misdemeanors in all 50 states.
Tell him that decades ago, the FBI recognized that serial killers shared a trait: most had tortured or killed animals when they were young.
Today psychologists understand that children who commit repeated acts of intentional animal cruelty are not simply going through a stage. Instead, these children may have experienced violence and be at risk of committing violent acts against people.
At greatest risk are children who seem insensitive to animals in distress – or actually derive pleasure from seeing animals in pain.
Encourage your son to feed the birds, take a more active role in caring for family pets and speak up for animals.
For ideas on incorporating humane education into his school life, contact the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education at www.nahee.org or 860-434-8666.
If the shootings continue, alert the humane society and the police.
For more information on the link between animal cruelty and human violence, see www.hsus.org/firststrike.