Practitioners in the animal welfare field, law enforcement circles, and social services arena have often maintained that childhood cruelty to animals is a forerunner to violence against people. Does this behavior serve as a red flag with respect to extremely violent offenders, such as serial killers? Merz-Perez and Heide provide the first scientific examination of this relationship and examine issues of cruelty across different types of animals (pet, wild, stray, farm). The authors evaluate the correlations between childhood cruelty and adult violent behavior, utilizing interviews and criminal records of violent and nonviolent inmates in a maximum security prison. Their findings will be of importance to a diverse audience, including researchers and practitioners in the field of juvenile justice, violence and domestic abuse, social welfare, animal welfare and animal rights and developmental psychologists and counselors, as well as law enforcement officers, district attorneys and judges, county and municipal officials, animal control officers, veterinarians, and school administrators, especially those concerned with intervention and prevention strategies.
Linda Merz-Perez is the former Executive Director of the Humane Society of Shelby County, Alabama. She currently serves on the boards of Hand-In-Paw and the SPCA, West Pasco, has served as court-appointed Animal Cruelty Investigative Officer, and has been involved in the field of animal welfare for the last 14 years. Kathleen M. Heide is professor of Criminology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, and a licensed mental health counselor. She is an internationally recognized consultant on adolescent homicide, family violence, personality assessment, and juvenile justice, and the author of Why Kids Kill Parents: Child Abuse and Adolescent Homicide (1992) and Young Killers: The Challenge of Juvenile Homicide (1999).
1 FOREWORD 2 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 3 Part I: ANIMAL CRUELTY: THE CURRENT STATE Current State of Knowledge 4 Chapter 1: Animal Cruelty Encapsulated 5 Chapter 2: A Review of the Related Literature 6 Chapter 3: Three Theories of Offenders 7 PART II: ANIMAL CRUELTY AND SUBSEQUENT HUMAN VIOLENCE: AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION 8 Chapter 4: Method and Study Design 9 Chapter 5: Findings 10 PART III: UNDERSTANDING THOSE WHO HURT ANIMALS: IN-DEPTH PORTRAITS 11 Chapter 6: Case Studies of Three Theories of Violent Offenders 12 Chapter 7: Non-Violent Offenders Investigated 13 PART IV: A BLUEPRINT TO END SENSELESS PAIN AND DESTRUCTION 14 Chapter 8: Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations 15 AFTERWORD 16 References 17 Index 18 About the Authors