Recently, two juveniles were arrested after a video depicting a boy abusing a dog went viral on social media. This recent story only further justifies our belief that humane education is a must for our society.
In the graphic stills from video, a boy is shown body slamming a dog in a yard several times and he is also seen beating the dog all the while another juvenile is heard in the background laughing. Unfortunately, this type of situation occurs far too commonly.
WARNING: Some of these images may be disturbing for viewers
The Link® between violence towards people and animals is unambiguous. In fact, a study of women seeking shelter at a safe house showed that 71 percent of those having pets affirmed that their partner had threatened, hurt or killed their companion animals, and 32 percent of mothers reported that their children had hurt or killed their pets (Ascione, 1998). Another study showed that violent offenders incarcerated in a maximum-security prison were significantly more likely than nonviolent offenders to have committed childhood acts of cruelty toward pets (Merz-Perez, Heide, & Silverman, 2001).
President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” And if we want to build more sustainable, humane communities throughout our nation – it’s time for us as a nation to invest in our future by taking steps to break this vicious cycle of violence.
Several years ago I visited a school and I spoke to some kindergarten-aged children about animal safety and kindness to animals. But when I arrived and I started by asking them about their pets, I heard some horrifying things about the way they were being raised to care for animals. I distinctly recall one boy telling me that when his parents went on a vacation, they left their dog tied to a tree, but when they returned – their dog was dead. This goes without mentioning the countless cases of animal abuse I’ve investigated over the years that occurred at the hands of children.
So where does it end? What do we do?
We at American Humane Association (AHA) believe that one of the best ways to protect children and animals — and, on a broader scale, create a more humane world — is through humane education that teaches kindness toward other people, animals and the environment. To that end, since 1915, AHA has promoted Be Kind to Animals Week® — a national initiative to promote compassion and the values of humane treatment of animals to generations of young Americans.
We have a plethora of humane education resources at AHA, but we need your help to get the message out there! We have to take a stand, and we have to teach compassion and empathy not only through education – but also through our actions both in- and outside the home. Let’s build our youth for the future.