The FBI has announced that it will count animal cruelty alongside other Group A felonies, which include assault, arson and homicide. According to experts, this sea change is due to the strong link between animal cruelty and anti-social behavior, interpersonal violence and serious criminal activities.
Jeffrey Dahmer, Anders Breivik and Ted Bundy all began tormenting family pets and later escalated to tormenting and murdering people as well. Other criminal behaviors have also been linked to it. One study found that nearly three-fourths of domestic abusers threatened, hurt or killed their victim’s pets.
According to experts, most animal cruelty is linked to psychopathic behavior. Symptoms of psychopathy usually develop by the time a child is six to seven years old and are resistant to remediation. These children lack empathy and conscience but have superficially charming manners. MRIs have shown that they have abnormal brain structure and function, particularly in the areas of the brain that regulate prosocial behavior and morality. As they age, they learn to use the system to their advantage and can become more manipulative and violent.
In the past, animals were often seen as property rather than sentient beings, which is why laws were often weak and insufficient for protecting them. This change is heralded as revolutionary and provides better protection not only for animals who come into contact with a psychopath but also for people who do. As for psychopathic children, most experts believe that biology rather than environment is to blame. However, teaching your child respect and consideration towards all living things is vital.