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When Children Kill Pets What Went Wrong

When children kill pets intentionally it should be a huge warning to parents. Either they have been parenting wrongly, or their child has a mental illness, but either way their child needs more attention.


When we read stories of kids who abuse, and kill, animals, it is not just one, it is many. Often the first pet killed is the families pet, but eventually neighbors pets are killed to, and wild animals. How can a caring and actively involved parent not know?

I say “caring and actively involved” because clearly if your child is killing pets and you do not know about it you are not caring for, and actively involved with, that child. When does an eight year old child get the chance to kill a neighbors family pet dog with a BBQ fork and nobody notices? When does an eight year old child get a chance to kill their neighbors pet anything without anyone noticing? The dog would have yelped in miserable pain, and the child would have had to trespass or been out without adult supervision, in order to kill many of the neighbors pets. Not only this.. but when should a kid with a known history of killing pets, be allowed to roam by himself?

And yet, this really did happen, an eight year old boy really did kill a pet dog with a BBQ for and killed other pets and animals too (mostly ducks and chickens). Even after he was caught the first time (but not charged due to age) he went on to kill more animals… This is only one story of many where children have killed pets and other animals. Click here, and here, for more on this story.

Older kids.. younger kids.. it makes no difference, if your child is killing pets and animals there is no excuse for you not to be aware.

Mental illness is a poor excuse for a cause, and a worse excuse for allowing it to continue as long as it does. Many of the people who start out torturing and killing animals go on to torturing and killing people. Indeed many serial killers confessed they started out on “Free to Good Home” pets, and many killed their own pets as children.

An animal cruelty known as “Crush” has been suspected of having its roots in parenting. If a young boy witnesses his mother killing animals, (mice, bugs), and seeing her empowered by such. This makes us wonder if children who go on to kill animals themselves did not learn it directly by innocently witnessing their parent kill something, be it a bug, or vermin, or something larger, and be callous about it. Perhaps the childs beloved pet died when they (they child) were young, and the parent handled it callously, “It’s just a fish… get over it!”. These things may have occurred when the child is too young to remember the conscious event, but it hit their subconscious no doubt.

Very likely children who kill pets do not know why, but they have a morbid curiosity that formed at some time and for some reason, and was not kept in check by the parent, or parents.

Parents NEED to be watchful of their children, kids don’t just start this without clues that a watchful parent should pick up on. Somebody clearly was not paying attention to this child.

Perhaps it started innocently, a child shows an interest in killing bugs, but eventually the problem grows, parents may find the child examining dead animals (even mice killed by cats). True this can signal a child that is interested in biology, but if they seem to enjoy killing the animals themselves it is a signal of problems.


Children should be fascinated by animals, not wanting to kill them.  My daughter took this picture.

No parent wants to think of their kid as a vicious, heartless, pet killer, but the truth is that some are. For whatever reason, we may never know. An involved and caring parent will know if it is an issue, and wouldn’t allow their child to be in a situation where problems like this continue.  Professional help is available.


If you have children you, the parent, must decide to make the kids a priority, if you are too busy at work, sacrifice some luxuries to afford to be more actively involved with your child.  Do not be callous towards the suffering of other animals, even bugs.


Related Links


Crushing Crush Films

Sympathy for Insects

Parenting Excuse:  Boys will be Boys

Are you Raising a Rapist?

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User Comments
  1. PARAM

    On July 31, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Great one…keep going.

  2. Jenny Heart

    On August 1, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Much food for thought here. I agree with you that children need to be fascinated by animals not want to kill them.

  3. K Kristie

    On August 1, 2010 at 2:16 am

    I have never yet heard of a child killing his own pet. I agree, something is really wrong with a child who does that.

  4. Minister Marlene

    On August 1, 2010 at 8:23 am

    I’ve heard about this and work in the mental health field. I run a support group. Children who kill pets are showing signs of mental illness. The parent must have the child evaluated.

    I see so many mothers who refuse to put their children first and get them help. The cruelty that these children display not only attests to their character but they need medical care.

    Murderers were often animal killers as children.
    The photo of your daughter is adorable.


    On August 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

    A real winner of an article through my eyes and I hope others can relate aswell. This is an awesome script and a real eye-opener. I want to thank you for exposing the real-life horrors and I completely agree with every word you have written. Children have a natural fascination and the animal is nearly always targeted. It is completely defenceless and, infact, afraid. Animals are actually more defenceless than even children and I also agree agree that the ones that harm mentally ill and likely to end up as bullies and cruel adults. Parents need to be good humans themselves to raise their children to love every living life-form on earth and anywhere. BEAUTIFUL WORK AND I LOVED IT ALL!!! :)

  6. Sourav

    On August 1, 2010 at 9:10 am

    This is a very good article. I agree with you parents need to be watchful and should teach them to love the animals.

  7. CA Johnson

    On August 1, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    This is a very interesting article. I have never heard of children killing pets. You are right. Parents do need to pay attention to their children because there must be something wrong with the child.

  8. Ruby Hawk

    On August 1, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I have never know a child to kill a pet but I have read of such things. The child has to be mentally disturbed.

  9. PR Mace

    On August 1, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Children who kill animals do have a mental illness in my opinion. I can’t understand how anyone could find killing an animal fun. Parents do need to be watchful of their children and know what they are doing and who their friends are. Excellent article on a difficult subject.

  10. Brenda Nelson

    On August 2, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Just to note, its not my daughter in the photo, it was my daughter who TOOK the photo of another kid taking a photo….

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