Bendigo dog owners are rightly outraged and more than a little disturbed with the knowledge that a sick, sociopathic miscreant is skulking in the shadows, ready to pounce on their beloved pets. The depraved thug is known to be responsible for the callous and brutal slaughter of at least a dozen local dogs including an entire litter of puppies which were bludgeoned to death.
If the thought of an animal serial killer on the loose does little to stir any compassion, take into consideration the very real links between animal and human violence. Many researchers have found that a history of animal violence indicates a high propensity for interpersonal violence. Put simply, those who abuse animals usually move on to human victims. That said, not all animal abusers become serial killers but most serial killers began their killing ‘career’ with animals.
One of the known warning signs of certain psychopathologies, including antisocial personality disorder, is a history of torturing pets and small animals. According to the New York Times:
“the FBI has found that a history of cruelty to animals is one of the traits that regularly appears in its computer records of serial rapists and murderers, and the standard diagnostic and treatment manual for psychiatric and emotional disorders lists cruelty to animals as a diagnostic criterion for conduct disorders.” and “A survey of psychiatric patients who had repeatedly tortured dogs and cats found all of them had high levels of aggression toward people as well.”
This is a commonly reproduced finding and for this reason, violence (including sexually oriented violence) towards animals, is considered a serious warning sign of potential serious violence towards humans. The following are a few examples:
- Russell Weston Jr. tortured and killed 12 cats, by burning, cutting their tails, paws and ears off, put toxic chemicals in their eyes, blinding them, forcing them to eat poison, hanging them from trees; the noose loose enough to create a slow and painful death, as the cat/kitten struggles to free itself as the noose gets tighter with each attempt. Later killed 2 police officers at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
- Jeffery Dahmer loved to dissect animals (he learned this in school). Later he dissected boys and kept their body parts in the refrigerator. He murdered 17 men.
- Albert De Salvo, the Boston Strangler, would place a dog and cat in a crate with a partition between them. After starving the animals for several days, he would remove the partition and watch them kill each other. He raped and killed 13 women by strangulation. He would often pose the bodies in a shocking manner after their murders.
- In 1998 in Springfield, Oregon 15-year-old Kip Kinkel set a live cat on fire and dragged the innocent creature through the main street of town. He walked into his high school cafeteria and opened fire on his classmates. Two classmates were killed and 22 others injured, four critically. Later that day, police found his parents shot to death in their home.
- Edmund Emil Kemper III, who murdered his mother and 7 other women, was known to abuse cats and dogs.
- Carol Edmund Cole, who murdered 35 people, admitted that his first violent act was strangling a puppy.
- Eleven-year-old Andrew Golden and 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson tortured and killed dogs. A friend of Golden stated that he shoots dogs all the time with a .22. In 1998, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Golden and Johnson shot and killed four students and one teacher during a fire drill at their school.
- Richard Allen Davis set numerous cats on fire. He killed all of Polly Klaus’ animals before abducting and murdering Polly Klaus, aged 12, from her bedroom.
- The 10 year olds Robert Thompson and John Venables, who killed toddler Jamie Bulger had a history of violence towards animals.
Despite the historical recognition of the link between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans, law enforcement agencies, the courts, and social service agencies have, until recently, ignored the well established connection.
- A survey of pet-owning families with substantiated child abuse and neglect found that animals were abused in 88 percent of homes where child physical abuse was present (DeViney, Dickert, & Lockwood, 1983).
- 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).
- Still another study showed that violent offenders incarcerated in a maximum security prison were significantly more likely than non-violent offenders to have committed childhood acts of cruelty toward pets (Merz-Perez, Heide, & Silverman, 2001).
- An English researcher found that 83% of families reported for animal abuse also had children listed at high risk of abuse or neglect.
There is also support for the hypothesis that cruelty to animals may be linked to other mental disorders. It can also be an indication that other forms of abuse are also occurring in the home, such as child or spousal abuse. If that wasn’t enough, Schedel-Stupperich (2001) state that some animal abuse incidences have a sexual connotation, and in general, the link between sadistic sexual acts with animals and sadistic practices with humans or lust murders is well known.
Some murderers tortured animals in their childhood, with some of them also practicing bestiality. Ressler et al. (1988) found that 36% of sexual murderers described themselves as having abused animals during childhood, with 46% of them reporting that they had abused animals during adolescence, and that 8 of their sample of 36 sexual murderers showed an interest in zoosexual acts.
So with this in mind, I wonder how Bendigo Police and the local authorities are treating this case? Given the limited intelligence associated with such depraved people, I wouldn’t expect the perpetrator to possess the ability to turn on and use a computer, let alone read this blog.
But should he (and I’m putting money on it being a ‘he’) somehow overcome these debilitating obstacles and find himself reading this……You are obviously deeply disturbed and I would strongly suggest you seek urgent psychiatric help before these cowardly acts escalate into a ‘career’ involving human victims, who incidentally, will most certainly fight back.