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November/December 2001Vol. 2, No. 6Resource Book Educates Teens about Animal Cruelty, Connection to Child Abuse

High school students and teachers have a new humane education resource available to them for school projects, reports, and debates. Understanding Animal Cruelty is a 24-page booklet produced by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that offers critical-thinking questions, activities, and suggestions on how teens can stop animal cruelty in their communities.

Among the issues addressed are:

  • Concepts and causes associated with animal cruelty
  • State and Federal laws that address the mistreatment of animals
  • Connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence, child abuse, and other violent behavior.

Since animal abuse is often a precursor to other forms of violence, the resource guide advocates that these acts be taken seriously and reported. It profiles cases of animal cruelty committed by serial killers and notorious school shooters, such as Luke Woodham, a Mississippi high school student who killed his mother and two students six months after killing his dog. A neighbor who witnessed the killing of the dog failed to report it.

The booklet also points out that children who harm animals may be acting out their own experiences with abuse or releasing their fears and frustrations. The HSUS, FBI, and other groups encourage law enforcement officers, humane investigators, and social service agencies to cross-report acts of violence against people and animals to break the cycle of abuse.

Understanding Animal Cruelty can be downloaded online at:

To purchase print copies of Understanding Animal Cruelty for $3 each or to learn about other materials for high school students, contact:

The HSUS Youth Education Division
PO Box 362
E. Haddam, CT 06423-0362
Phone: 860-434-8666
Fax: 860-434-9579

Related Items

See the following related articles in the July/August 2001 issue of the Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Animal Cruelty, Human Violence Linked in Humane Society Study"
  • "New Online Resource Center Addresses the Link Between Violence to People and Animals"

For descriptions of other new Clearinghouse acquisitions, see the Resources section in the current issue of the Children's Bureau Express.