By Elisa Black-Taylor
Kids Killing Cats is possibly the most important article I’ve ever written. Not only did I bring attention to this difficult subject, I feel I gave a good deal of information for those pushing for stronger laws for violent crimes such as criminal domestic violence as well as murder. The original article was a good start in asking government leaders to create tougher sentences and had the numbers and references to back it up. That article can be found on this page (opens a new tab or window). Please read before continuing.
The reason I’m writing a followup is in response to a comment made on the original article concerning a woman whose nephew lives with her. She doesn’t state how old he is, only that he’s killed two kittens in two weeks. She found the most recent kitten with its neck broken a few days ago. The nephew’s mother lives in another state and does not have custody of the boy at this time. He’s been in treatment by a mental health facility and is still displaying this type of violence.
I hope the readers here can offer some suggestions for her. I’m going to do my best, but it’s difficult since I’m not trained to do this. So all I can offer is some advice and give some
personal examples and their outcome. I also want to share this article I found on the internet concerning a 12-year old boy (Cristian Fernandez) who killed a kitten (smashed head on ground) at a very young age and later went on to sexually abuse his brother. He was charged with murder in 2011. That article is here. This young man was a straight A student at the time of his arrest. His father committed suicide.
Before I offer any advice, I’d like to tell you about the two cases I’ve stayed on top of in my own life.
The first involves the son of a friend of mine. He’s in his early twenties now. He began torturing animals by age nine. This escalated to vandalism a few years later. His parents, as well as the police, took a “boys will be boys” attitude and nothing was done to help this young man. In high school he attacked another student and barely escaped being charged with assault and battery with intent to kill. At age 19 he got into drinking and drugs. Notice he’s underage on the drinking. At age 22 he was charged with open container while driving. Although he avoided a DUI (driving under the influence) charge, he now has an arrest record. He also lost a good job in management. This young man was very intelligent before his life spiraled out of control. I lost track of him over the summer, so I have no idea whether he’s in jail or possibly dead.
The second case I’ve kept track of involves the nephew of a distant family member. He was in the custody of his aunt and uncle, as his mother was on drugs and couldn’t handle him. I don’t know whether he abused or killed any animals, but he did get into a fight at school that seriously injured another student. His aunt and uncle were being held responsible for his actions. He was under 12 years old when all of this took place. Things finally got so bad he had to be returned to his mother. She’s been clean and sober for many months now and hopefully she can better handle him.
When I learned of the comment made this week by the aunt of a young cat killer, I first wanted to contact the police and the school district office in the county where I live. I’m afraid to do this after all that happened to us over the summer. It would be just my luck everyone would think I was talking about something going on in my own home.
My advice to the aunt is to first contact the guidance counselor at the school he attends. Explain everything that has happened up until now and follow through with any advice given. Usually guidance counselors have a background in psychology. Chances are if the nephew hasn’t already been in serious trouble at school, he eventually will be.
It may also help to talk to a family court judge in the county you reside in. Let the judge know what’s going on. Again, if this young man is killing kittens, he’ll likely end up in family court (or worse) for a much worse offense. Perhaps the judge can get the boy into some kind of treatment program closer to home. He may even need to be committed for a short time. In my area, a Probate Judge as well as a Family Court Judge can sign the necessary commitment papers. Especially if the kitten killer is determined to be a danger to himself or others.
I don’t think the police should be involved. Most of the time they could care less about the murder of small animals. If you want to contact them, that’s fine. Just don’t expect any help until the young man commits a crime against a person.
According to statistics, this is very likely to happen.
This is a very hard subject to convince someone to take action on. On one hand, you don’t want to get the abuser in more trouble than he’s already in. Some families are in denial on just how bad things are. They try to rationalize the abuser isn’t really a bad person. This is something he will outgrow. Many fear their own lives are in danger should they contact anyone in authority.
Action must be taken by the adults in the household. If not for the abuser’s emotional future, then for the cost the family may be responsible for. If this child destroys property or hurts someone, the guardian or parent will be held monetarily responsible. A lawsuit is possible, especially if there are medical expenses from an assault. A family can lose everything, including their home.
This is NOT something the child is likely to outgrow. The type of abuse may change. It may intensify. Unfortunately, there’s very little chance it will go away. To allow the torture or murder of small animals is insane. If an adult kills with malice and aforethought, we all want to see him punished. Punishment is just different for younger abusers.
You’d be doing your nephew a disservice to allow this to continue. He may be mentally ill or he may just be plain mean. I attended school with a boy who was like this young man. He’s been in prison for years now. Don’t wait until this situation gets worse. As I said before, he may or may not have had a good childhood. There are lots of bad kids with good parents and vise versa.
Do NOT give him any more kittens! Kitten killers may start as young as 3 years old! I’m not talking about accidentally squeezing a kitten to death. I’m talking about intentional death because the cat killer enjoys doing it.
I hope those readers who have any formal training in psychology can offer more advice. I’m not really qualified, except this is an area of extreme interest for me. Because animal cruelty tends to lead to criminal domestic violence, and that’s a topic I write on for another online publication.
Readers, your comments are desperately needed here.