Do childhood animal abusers move on to abuse fellow humans later in life? Walt Hutchens provides a GREAT answer to that question. Take it away, Walt!
Are you going to argue the point that alot of people who in childhood hurt/maim/kill animals *alot of times*, (not all the time so don't misquote me) move on to fellow human beings later in life ?
Yes, I'll argue exactly that.
Children grow up more or less experimentally. They DO things, many of them bad things. Parents correct them, they also set the example and talk about principles and philosophy. The great majority of kids grow up just fine, looking back (when they remember the things they did while young) with a combination of shame and amazement: They would NEVER do those things as adults.
Show me an adult who never did anything bad enough to be charged as cruelty to another child or to an animal, I'll show you a person with a memory disorder, an old person (youthful memories do fade) or a liar.
Read up on pretty much any infamous psycho in history and you will read the animal connection.
Sure. Read up on George Washington and you'll read the cherry tree connection, too. For ANY sort of adult you can find a youthful antecedent -- most of them more truthful than the Geo. Wash. story.
Does that mean that every kid (or even most kids) who do such things grow up to be that kind of adult?
Of course not. All kids play some baseball; very few wind up in league play as adults -- or even want to. All of us kick our sisters but parents usually fix that real fast and very few abuse our wives. So too with animal abuse: I'd bet that most boys (and at least a few
girls) who are around animals while young do some abusive things, but the fraction who grow up to do similar things as adults is tiny. This 'connection' is basically a AR phantasy, intended to give credibility to their calls for ever more severe punishment for animal offenses because "You're just punishing a future wife beater, serial killer, or child abuser in advance. Isn't that a good idea?"
You can look for the studies proving what the ARs claim but you will look in vain: There are NO studies showing that most children who ever abuse animals grow up to be violent or abusive adults. And the studies of serial killers who abused animals as children are about as meaningful as showing that most American adults with flat feet wore shoes when they were kids.
It could be otherwise for a child with a pattern of real abuse
extending over at least a few years. That's a seriously disturbed child and he does not have a good future as an adult. But assuming that every case of abuse proves such a pattern is ridiculous and would do far more harm than good. We are all familiar with children arrested for giving another kid an aspirin or accidentally bringing a pocket knife to school: is any such overreaction likely to be good for the child?
A second problem with the AR-claimed connection between youthful abuse of animals and adult violence is the broad (nearly unlimited) definition of 'abuse' they've popularized. Failure to give food or water, or clean an enclosure on the schedule required by law is now often a criminal charge that will be cited thereafter as 'abuse' or 'cruelty.' No violence was involved, in many cases no animal was hurt, the charges may have been entirely fabricated, and when something bad did happen, it may all have been an accident, but nevermind, you are now a convicted animal abuser.
Did the case of Mary Wild (several dogs in her care died of heat stroke) make her likely to become a violent criminal? Or is she more likely someone who was very seriously negligent, possibly even someone who has learned a valuable lesson at a very high price? How 'bout Richmond SPCA Director Robin Starr, whose dog accidentally died of heat stroke in her car due to miscommunication with her husband? About to grab an AK-47 and spray a crowd or just human and thus subject to an occasional mistake, sometimes serious, like the rest of us?
All of this stuff is utter rubbish.