Animal Cruelty and Child Abuse

A recent study puts the odds of cruelty to animals being an indication of physical abuse at about three times higher in 5-year-olds and five times higher in 12-year-olds.


  • Children exposed to domestic violence are three times more likely to be cruel to animals
  • Children who are sexually abused are five times more likely to abuse animals
  • Kids 10 and older who intentionally harm animals are two to three times more likely to have been abused
  • 43% of school shooters have a history of abusing animals
  • 60% of families under investigation for any form of child abuse, and 88% of those specifically investigated for physical child abuse also reported instances of animal cruelty
    • Of that 88% - 26% of the victims went on to become victimizers themselves, abusing their family pets
  • Animal abuse is characterstic in the developmental histories of between one in four and two in three adult violent offenders