Kids and Harming Animals
By Jo Ann Wentzel
In many families, children are allowed or at least excused for their actions of harming animals. They pull cats tails, hit or kick dogs, drop puppies and just handle animals carelessly and harmfully. This is wrong and should not be tolerated.
After fostering for many years it became apparent that children who harm animals can often grow up to be violent people. When kids are not taught early on that every living being can feel pain and should be treated with respect and care, they develop a hardness and insensitivity to others.
If we dismiss their actions due to their age being very young, we do them a great disservice. These children usually mistreat an animal because it has interfered with what they wanted to do. Usually the animal has not harmed the child in any way, but just annoyed it or got in its way. The child gets angry and strikes out. It believes and is sometimes shown or taught that animals do not matter. So it is in their minds okay to harm them since they are not important. Of course if parents are of the same mind, they will not think it important to correct a child for mistreating an animal.
This is one reason that it is very important for children to only have pets when young if they are taught how to handle and care for them. They should be taught to look at pets as family members and then maybe they will have feelings for them. Too many families get animals and then ignore them. Soon they are taken to animal shelters because no one has the time to take care of them. Often by this time the animal has been spoiled to the point that it must be worked with a long time to even get it ready to fit into another family. It is sad when this happens and even sadder when folks just release those animals back onto the streets to fend for themselves. There are many rescue organizations to help these animals but, their numbers of pets taken in exceeds the ability to help. Just the same if people must get rid of animals, they will take them even if you cannot pay them so do not release animals onto the streets.
I'm appalled when I see programs and hear stories about the abused animals received from unfeeling people. I think adults who harm animals should be criminally charged and convicted. I am not ready, as some politicians who have taken this too far, to advocate that animals have lawyers, but they should be protected in some way. One way is to teach children from the time they are little to be kind to pets.
When parents teach these things to kids, they are affirming that life has value. They are showing kids it is expected that you treat God's creatures with respect and love.
One thing that should scare parents is the fact that when kids are unkind to animals, it is just a short step to harming people. Their callousness develops to the point where they do not feel empathy for anyone. We have seen hardened teens that could not be moved by the plight of starving or abused children, much less animals.
If you perpetuate the feeling that life has no value, your child will adopt that same attitude. They will grow up only caring about themselves and begin to look at others as non human. They will believe they do not have feelings and it is okay to harm people so please take this warning seriously and do not let your kids harm animals.