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A shocking pattern

POSTED August 7, 2009 11:07 p.m.
I am one of those people. You know, the ones who keep pictures of adored pets in their wallet and who think a family Christmas portrait isn’t complete without Fluffy and Fido in the shot. I love my pets and animals in general.
Not everyone feels the same as I do. There are those who detest cat and dog hair and think the best pet is a rock with googly eyes glued on it. But even if you’re not an animal lover, I’m sure we can all agree that animal cruelty is wrong. So why do I keep hearing about people — around the country and locally — torturing and killing animals?
Michael Vick’s 2007 conviction for running a dog-fighting ring was shocking. I could not believe that an adult in today’s society could think that treating an animal in that manner was okay. The thought of those dogs being bred and trained as fighters for the entertainment of rich, bored men makes me sick. The fact that this went on for six years is a travesty.
Although Vick’s conviction was disheartening, what is more disturbing to me are the recent incidents of animal cruelty right here in River City.
On June 29, Randy Casey of Hilmar thought it would be a good idea to throw a cat into a nearby canal. When questioned by a Merced County Sheriff’s deputy on why he threw the cat into the canal, which held 3-4 feet of water and had a swift current, Casey said the cat was a constant source of nuisance.
Thankfully, the cat survived — although I’m sure at least half of its nine lives were sacrificed. Casey was booked into the Merced County Jail on a charge of animal cruelty.
Casey admitted to the deputy that he had made a mistake in how he dealt with the situation. I hope he meant that, and didn’t just say that because he was caught and arrested.
Two Border Collie mix puppies were not as lucky as Casey’s cat. On July 30, two puppies were gunned down and one narrowly escaped death. Apparently, some person or persons decided it would be a good idea to use puppies as live target practice.
This also happened in Hilmar. I think the location is just coincidence; the people in Hilmar don’t strike me as psychopaths as a whole.
Two incidents of animal cruelty in our small community is a little frightening. While I am an avid pet lover, my main concern isn’t for the poor animals. Many studies have shown that cruelty to animals is an indicator of something much worse.
The American Psychiatric Association considers animal cruelty as one of the diagnostic criteria of conduct disorder. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines conduct disorder as “a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age appropriate societal norms or rules are violated.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigations lists animal cruelty as one of a cluster of behaviors they associate with increasing violent behavior.
Since the 1970s, the FBI has studied serial killers — their life histories and patterns of behavior — looking for repeating patterns. They found that most serial killers, as children, either killed or tortured animals.
This is why we should all be concerned about acts of animal cruelty. The Merced County Sheriff’s department is still seeking the person or persons involved in the July 30 puppy shootings. Witnesses saw a silver Dodge Ram style pickup truck leave the site of the shootings, but nothing more. If you have any information about this incident, please call the sheriff’s department at 385-7444.
To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail khacker@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.

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