The Correlation Between Animal Cruelty and Violent Offenders 

 

LCA's reward offer leads to the arrest and conviction of teen animal abuser

In February 2012, a ten-month-old Pitbull puppy was found with her face burned, muzzle bound with tape, skull fractured, a severed right front paw and a shattered left paw. She was spotted in an unpopulated area of San Bernardino County, California by two good samaritans who called local rescue organization, Sounds of Silent Spirits Rescue and Sanctuary, who immediately got the puppy veterinary care. Rescuers named her Valentine because she was found so close to Valentine's Day.

LCA was contacted by the rescue group The Brittany Foundation about Valentine, and LCA offered a $5,000.00 reward for any tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Valentine's torture. After seeing LCA’s reward poster, a woman came forward with information that helped lead authorities to a 17-year-old Lucerne Valley, CA resident. The woman has asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution by the youth, his friends or family members.

Tape tightly wound around Valentine's muzzle prevented her from fighting back or crying out Valentine recovering from her injuries before  receiving prostheticsfor her injured limbs Valentine, with her prosthetic leg, now  lives happily with her adoptive family

Tape tightly wound around Valentine's
muzzle prevented her from fighting
back or crying out

Valentine recovering from her
injuries before receiving prosthetics
for her injured limbs

Valentine, with her prosthetic leg,
now lives happily with her
adoptive family

This case is exceptional because the abuser is a minor. California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 707 shields minor defendants by statutorily limiting what types of crimes a minor can be deemed fit to be charged with as an adult. Unfortunately, cruelty to animals IS NOT one of the crimes for which a minor can stand trial as an adult.

The San Bernardino DA's Office was committed to filing all possible charges in Valentine's case as they are well aware of the indisputable link between animal cruelty and other forms of criminal and violent behavior, especially when seen in juveniles. In fact, the FBI recognizes animal cruelty as a "first warning sign of potentially dangerous criminal conduct." The FBI further advises law enforcement agencies that animal cruelty perpetrated by minors is "highly predictive" and may even be a "rehearsal for targeting humans."

On May 29, 2012, Judge Larry W. Allen gave the minor animal abuser and potential violent offender, a slap on the wrist with one-year probation, 40 hours of community service, and an order that he is not allowed to own a dog for one year. LCA’s Chris DeRose said, “This is an insult. Not only does it harm the animals, it puts the public at risk for future violence. If you are as upset about this sentence as I am, contact Judge Allen and tell him what you think. I have already sent my letter.”


LCA believes tougher sentences should be handed down to animal abusers as animal cruelty is often the "first warning sign of potentially dangerous criminal conduct" and is "highly predictive" and may even be a "rehearsal for targeting humans" according to the FBI.