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Animal abuse indicates psychological problems that must be addressed



Published: Sun, August 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Animal abuse indicates psychological problems that must be addressed

EDITOR:

In regard to the three young men from Canfield who sadistically abused the cows, although I was sickened at the thought of what those poor cows endured, I am even more concerned for the psychological well-being of these three individuals.

As a professional in the field of child welfare, I know that animal abuse very often is symptomatic of severe emotional issues within an individual. Because our society does not value animal life, many people disregard cruelty to animals, failing to understand what such actions scream about the abuser. This is a person who is in need of immediate psychological help.

In my experience, a child who abuses animals almost always exhibits additional emotional and behavioral problems in other areas of his or her life. It would be interesting to know if any of these young men have had behavior problems in school, difficulty controlling anger, substance abuse or previous minor run-ins with the law. I would not be surprised if one or all of these were true.

Most human beings innately exhibit empathy for fellow human beings, as well as all creatures. Those who do not, go through life inflicting themselves upon society. They are angry, irrational or hard-to-get-along-with employees and co-workers. They are petty thieves. They are wife and child abusers. They are rapists and murderers.

Our prisons are full of people who at one time abused an animal. This is not to say that these individuals will one day commit a crime severe enough to be imprisoned, however it is fairly safe to assume that at some point in their life, they will exhibit an abnormal degree of difficulty with daily living. Eventually, they may have a substance abuse problem, or difficulties getting along in the workplace or within personal relationships.

I would urge the parents of these three young men, not to disregard the severity of their son's actions. This was not a prank. This was a warning of something seriously askew. Animal abuse is not normal.

KIM STEWART, LSW

Austintown




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