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? Is it part of the cycle of violence associated with domestic abuse? 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 both qualitative and quantitative data to identify 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.
Pathway to Violence Against People