Animal Abuse: An Indicator of the Future

Animal abuse is commonly agreed upon to be a cruel and unreasonable act by many. There are many links showing that animal abusers are more likely to commit crimes down the road. Animal abusers have a significantly higher rate of committing drastic crimes such as homicide and more minor crimes such as vandalism, drug abuse, and more. Through analyzing numerous studies by numerous people, this paper will take a look into the brain of an animal abuser and their likelihood at partaking in dark acts toward other human beings and prove that animal abusers are people that should be put into treatment to prevent harm towards others.

Starting off with the minor offenses, it is important to note that there is a wide stigma that animal abusers often tend to ‘upgrade’ or ‘graduate’ to violence against humans rather than animals. Although this in some degree is true, there are numerous studies that test this theory. The following information is from Arnold’s ‘The Relationship of Animal Abuse to Violence and other Forms of Antisocial Behavior.

’ The study starts off by analyzing 153 participants, whereas 58% of them were under the age of twenty one. Dogs were the most abused animal with 69% of the participants showing violence toward dogs, followed by cats with 22%, and 9% were others such as birds, wildlife, etc. The study also had a control group of 153 non-abusers. After tracking the records of all participants, the study found that abusers were as little as 3.2 times more likely to have a criminal record.

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Of the 153 abusers, only 16% of them ‘graduated’ to crimes of violence.

What Arnold shows with this information is that animal abusers don’t only turn to violence. They are also more likely to turn to other crimes such as property destruction, drug abuse, and public disorder. Now, it is important to emphasize that these numbers still mean that four out of twenty-five animal abusers will still turn to harm others. The correlation is so strong that Steelhammer and his interview with numerous sheriffs and deputies concluded that “A background that includes animal abuse is a key predictor for criminal behavior.” This furthers the fact that animal abusers are a threat to society and should be put into programs or something to help render them unable to harm others.

Now that it is established that not all of the animal abusers turn to violence, it is still too large of a number to ignore. This violence can also translate to just flat out human mistreatment in the household. According to Flynn’s study, ‘[Of] 860 college students… six out of ten students who witnessed or committed a childhood had also experienced either child maltreatment or inter-parental violence.’  Thanks to this study, one can see a clear indication of animal abuse to violence in the household. Sixty percent is more than a sufficient amount to show a trend. As the source says, people who have witnessed, or have themselves, abused an animal are more likely to have a dysfunctional household. A dysfunctional household, as one can also note due to the trend of school shootings, can also cause a chain reaction and lead to more drastic issues occurring. Not only does this result in a single human being damaged, but it can be passed down through to the next child and that child could cause a significant issue.

Another study from Flynn supports this link by stating that ‘Respondents who had been sexually abused, physically abused, or neglected were the most likely to report that they had abused animals.’ What this shows is that a chain reaction could be caused in which it could be passed down through generations and possibly get worse and worse until multiple lives could be lost. Respondents who witnessed animal abuse were also eight times more likely to perpetuate the action than those who did not (Flynn 2). As one can see, animal abuse can cause a slippery slope. One possible reason that animal abuse occurs in these situations is that people that have been abused want to feel like they still have power or control in their lives. Since they lust for that power, they turn to weaker beings that cannot defend themselves and project their fears onto the poor organism. That organism, in turn could then turn bitter and continue the endless cycle as it grows more and more vicious until an unfortunate event occurs.

It is also important to take a direct look into instances of violence rather than looking at broad examples. Children aren’t the only people that are probable to end up in a situation of abuse. The abuser’s partners aren’t spared from the blunt end of the stick either. Women residing at domestic violence shelters were nearly eleven times more likely to report that their partners have abused an animal than those who didn’t report (Ascione 1). This is also backed up by Hayden stating that “In one survey, seventy one percent of domestic violence victims reported that their abuser also targeted pets.” This means that the vast majority of women in domestic shelters can also link their abuser to also participating in animal abuse.

To further their results, another study was taken in a Utah domestic violence shelter. Thirty eight women were studied, of that 57% of them reported that their partner had harmed or killed pets. Eighteen percent of those women reported that their concern for their pets’ welfare delayed them from entering the shelter. (Ascione 4). This again furthers the clear link and evidence between animal abuse and abuse towards other beings. Now, it is important to note that thirty eight people is a small sample size and can be wrong when the sample size is enlarged. However, it is still a tiny step in the connection and should still be taken, even with a grain of salt.

Animal abuse is a clear indicator of a person’s tendencies. If one knows that someone has abused animals, they can use these studies and numerous others to know not to engage in any affiliation with the being. As the risk is more likely than not, it is not a good gamble. As Arnold, Flynn, and Ascione show in their studies, animal abuse is a legitimate connection between how someone will act toward others. Next time you see someone that has abused an animal, please try to get them help. If you don’t, you could be an assailant in future crimes and actions that could change someone’s life for the worst. A life is always valuable, no matter who it is. It is important that everyone gets help. Without help, humanity will forever be stuck in time.

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Animal Abuse: An Indicator of the Future. (2022, Nov 15). Retrieved from

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