The dog was starving, it has not tasted a snack since several days ago, and this winter has been especially hard. The small man who offered it a piece of meat did not seem like the rest of those children who shouted and pursued it throwing rocks. Then, as dog had to escape among the narrow alleys, with the tail between the legs and some another groan of pain, because some projectile had impacted full on its body, a body that was nothing more than a sack of skin and bones.
It approached cautiously, shivering and becoming as small as a small furry, brown ball trembling. It could smell the piece of meat which was offering, it was big, red, and juicy, it was sure that only one piece was going to kill slowly a little bit the hunger, in those long dark nights of winter, with the snow falling on the streets and without a gram of fat which isolated it from the cold sharp like a knife.
- Almost there!, just a little more...-thought for itself.
It stopped a short distance from the small human that was watching it, it chewed three or four times and swallowed the piece of meat that slipped into its aching stomach, but almost automatically, instead of alleviating the terrible feeling of pain, this intensified, tearing inside and exploding as a big blinding ball in it brain. It trembled, shuddered overhead down and legs could not hold it any longer, falling on the pavement wet by the snow. It eyes opened as two windows that look out to nothing and there it saw at his side, the small human, on his knees, with a red velvet on his face smile, while observing it with remarkable satisfaction and interest scientific, devoid of all compassion, looking at him smiling while all breath left it... (Cast in black).
There are times in which the relationships of children with animals don't happen in the way in which we all expect and small comment abuses with animals.
Defining characteristics of animal abuse.
But what is abuse? It is the first question that we must ask to ourselves. Kaufmann (1999) tells us that it is up to the cultural point of view, for example a Zen Buddhist to kill a fly can constitute an abuse, while for us it may seem normal. Thus, from the cultural point of view, we accept or condemn certain practices depending on the status that has the animal (in our culture does not have the same status a hen to a dog).
Agnew (1998) gives us the defining characters of "animal abuse":
- It is socially unacceptable.
- It is intentional or deliberate.
- It is unnecessary.
How can we measure the animal abuse?
It is somewhat problematic, since in many countries it is not collected as a crime, in some only get to be an administrative fault. Anyway Ascione (1997) has developed a structured Protocol for interviewing children and adolescents, the IAAC, that attempts to quantify the abuses to animals by children, in terms of frequency, severity, chronicity, and level of empathy. This author using that tool documented that you between 14% and 22% of teens admitted to correctional institutions in Utah admitted to having tortured animals last year.
Is cruelty to animals an important indicator of possible cruelty to humans?
Manual of Diagnosis and Statistics of the Mental Disorders IV-TR (DSM-IV-TR) within the disturbing behavior and attention deficit disorders, including among the criteria for the diagnosis of antisocial disorder aggression toward people or animals; more specifically, it says that one of the criteria is the manifestation of physical cruelty to animals. The cruelty of animals is also an antecedent antisocial in the childhood and adolescence of subjects diagnosed with antisocial personality of the personality disorder. It is therefore of special attention the occurrence of such acts of abuse towards animals in childhood and adolescence, although Moffitt (1993) suggested that adolescents who exhibit antisocial behaviors may include one of the following two groups:
A) Limited to adolescence.
B) That persist throughout life.
Psychopathy and animal abuse.
A psychopath is a person with a disorder antisocial of the personality. According to Hellman and Blackman (1966) one of the characteristic signs at early ages of antisocial or psychopathic traits can be reduced to a triad characterized by bedwetting, animal abuse, and Pyromania.
In addition, one of the best known studies prepared by the FBI about serial killers, according to which 46% of these mistreated animals during adolescence, has been another in Catalonia in 2010, based on a sample of 50 subjects, of whom almost 24% were accused or convicted for serious crimes (violent) or in phase of enforcement of sentence for manslaughter, murder or attempted murder, and 6% for rape (in four cases, of 5 to 23 victims by perpetrator), obtained a triad enuresis-pyromania - cruelty to animals in 23.5% of the sample, with incomplete triad (one / two items) by 65%. If one considers only the cruelty to animals as isolated element, found in a 41.7% of the sample.
All this, leads us to the conclusion that a factor that is very important to keep in mind regarding a possible disorder antisocial personality, abuse to animals by children and teenagers.
Are you a psychopath?
I'll give you a couple of links on the "dilemma of the tramway" and the moral reasoning of psychopaths.
By the way and following the storyline is quite likely a psychopath to read this, since it is estimated that up to 5% of the population would be it!