Animal Abusers Should Not Be Able to Own Guns

Before he went on a shooting spree and killed 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Nikolas Cruz reportedly shot squirrels and chickens with a pellet gun, rammed sticks into rabbit holes, killed toads, and sent his dog into a neighbor’s yard to attack their pet piglets.

In a comment on a picture of a dead toad he posted on his Instagram, Cruz wrote that the amphibians ran away when they saw him because “I killed a lot of them.”

Like Cruz, many people who commit heinous acts of violence on humans have started out by hurting animals. Serial killers Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert DeSalvo (aka the “Boston Strangler”) and David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) all tortured animals.

As for other school shooters, here are some of their animal cruelty crimes, as noted in a 2008 article posted in the Michigan State University Animal Legal & Historical Center:

  • Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Columbine High School, 1999): Told classmates they mutilated animals.
  • Luke Woodham (Pearl High School, 1997): Set his dog on fire.
  • Kip Kinkel (Thurston High School, 1998): Blew up cows and decapitated cats.
  • Andrew Golden (Westside Middle School, 1998): Shot dogs, including his own, with a .22 caliber rifle.

According to the 2014 study, “Animal Abuse as a Warning Sign of School Massacres,” of the 23 perpetrators of school shootings between 1988 and 2012, 43 percent of them had committed animal abuse – most often toward pets like cats and dogs.

Many other studies have also shown the correlation between animal and human abuse. In one study cited by Psychology Today, 70 percent of the most violent prisoners in several federal penitentiaries had repeatedly abused animals during their childhoods.

To help law enforcement agencies crack down on animal abuse by investigating and prosecuting cases, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) provides training to thousands of officers each year that focuses on the connection between cruelty to animals and violence against humans. “Next month, in a sad irony, the HSUS will collaborate with the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association to discuss these very issues,” acting HSUS President Kitty Block wrote on her blog.

As a means of preventing abuse in the first place, humane education programs are available that teach schoolchildren to be kind to animals. And as for intervention methods, the HSUS and other animal welfare organizations recommend that human services agencies check for animal abuse during client assessments. “In addition, we have been clear in recommending that children who abuse animals should receive help to address the reasons for their violent actions,” Block wrote.

Stronger federal anti-cruelty laws are needed, such as the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which would make it a federal crime to commit malicious cruelty to an animal on federal property or otherwise in interstate commerce.

The United States also needs stronger gun laws. In response to the outrage over the Parkland mass shooting, Trump now claims he will consider strengthening background checks for gun buyers. If he actually follows through on this promise, it’s an important step. Anyone with a serious criminal record – and that should include animal abuse – must not be allowed to purchase firearms.

Take Action!

In the meantime, please sign and share this petition urging Congress to pass a bill banning anyone convicted of violence against animals from ever owning guns.

Photo credit: moshehar.

183 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

tks for sharing

SEND
Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogers4 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogers4 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Janis K
Janis K6 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Denise Z
Denise Z8 months ago

I saw a video online that led to this petition. Where may I find it to share?

SEND
Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio9 months ago

animal abusers should not be able to have pets or guns...
#187599 petition signed...

thank you Laura...

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ ManyIssues9 months ago

Tfs

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ ManyIssues9 months ago

Tfs

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ ManyIssues9 months ago

Tfs

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ ManyIssues9 months ago

Already signed

SEND