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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SB 171 is as much about protecting communities from violent offenders as it is about protecting pets

Animal abuse never ends well and it is a red-flag to violent personalities and anti-social behavior. South Dakotans urge the passage of SB 171 to deter this behavior. This bill is as much about protecting communities from violent offenders as it is about protecting pets. Acts of intentional cruelty are often some of the most disturbing and violent offences and should be considered signs of serious psychological problems.  People who abuse and kill animals are more likely to target human victims. Serial killers and school shooters have histories of abusing animals. The FBI has recognized the connection since the 1970s, when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children. Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert DeSalvo (the “Boston Strangler”) and many others committed heinous acts of animal cruelty before brutally maiming and killing their human victims. Over half of the infamous school shooters abused and tortured animals. (Miner, 1999)

The information below from the SPCALA further explains why SB 171 is as much about protecting South Dakota communities from violent offenders as it is about protecting pets.

Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology during the last 25 years demonstrate that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. The FBI has recognized this connection since the 1970s, when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children. Other research shows consistent patterns of animal cruelty among perpetrators of more common forms of violence, including child abuse, spouse abuse and elder abuse.

  • High school killers such as 15-year-old Kip Kinkel in Springfield, Ore., and Luke Woodham, 16, in Pearl, Mississippi., tortured animals before embarking on shooting sprees.
  • Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who shot and killed 12 classmates before turning their guns on themselves, bragged about mutilating animals to their friends.
  • Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer had impaled dogs’ heads, frogs, and cats on sticks.
  • Carroll Edward Cole, executed for five of the 35 murders of which he was accused, said his first act of violence as a child was to strangle a puppy.
  • Albert DeSalvo, the “Boston Strangler” who killed 13 women, trapped dogs and cats in orange crates and shot arrows through the boxes in his youth.
  • Patrick Sherrill, who killed 14 coworkers at a post office and then shot himself, had a history of stealing local pets and allowing his own dog to attack and mutilate them.
  • Brenda Spencer, who opened fire at a San Diego school, killing two children and injuring nine others, had repeatedly abused cats and dogs, often by setting their tails on fire.
  • Earl Kenneth Shriner, who raped, stabbed, and mutilated a 7-year-old boy, had been widely known in his neighborhood as the man who put firecrackers in dogs’ rectums and strung up cats.
  • In 1987, three Missouri high school students were charged with the beating death of a classmate. They had histories of repeated acts of animal mutilation starting several years earlier. One confessed that he had killed so many cats he’d lost count. Two brothers who murdered their parents had previously told classmates that they had decapitated a cat.

SB 171 isn’t just about protecting pets; it is about protecting South Dakota communities from violent offenders. Fortunately cases of malicious animal cruelty are rare but they must be treated like real crimes in South Dakota.

Contact members of the Senate Ag Committee via this link: http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2013/CommitteeMembers.aspx?Committee=2. Ask them to send SB 171 to the Senate floor because South Dakotans want to protect our pets and communities from violent offenders.

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