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Animal Abuse Scholar Receives Award

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I found this article today and would like to share it with you. I think its great about this and I believe everything the doctor says about the connection between child abuse and animal abuse. What does everyone else think:
Animal Abuse Scholar Receives Award
Tuesday, October 9, 2001


LOGAN -- As psychologist Frank Ascione progressed in his studies of the socialization of children, he noticed a hole and set out to fill it.
"You look through almost any psychology magazine and there are absolutely no references to pets," Ascione said.
Ascione has been rewarded with the 2001 Distinguished Scholar Award, given once every three years by the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations and the International Society for Anthrozoology.
Ascione received the award for his research documenting the connection between child abuse and animal maltreatment.
Ascione theorizes that when children abuse animals, they often are "imitating what they are seeing in the home or community."
It may come from watching parents, siblings or neighbors abuse pets, may stem from witnessing spousal abuse or it may be a result of child abuse.
One way they show their disturbance is to act out on anything that is smaller, Ascione said. Anything smaller can include cats, dogs, turtles -- or other children.
Ascione compares violence against animals to fire starting. At first, a child may find some matches and experiment, causing damage, a little or a lot.
When parents find out, they should tell the child about the danger of fire, take better care of matches and monitor the child a little more.
With younger children, usually better supervision and less access to dangerous material tends to solve the problem, he said.
"In older children, it is more often a symptom of other problems and education usually doesn't help. In those cases, evaluation by a psychologist or a psychiatrist is often needed."
A few months ago, a 6-year-old Ogden boy was reported to have tortured four kittens, killing one and hurting the others so badly that they had to be euthanized.
For Ascione, the most troublesome part about the incident is what the father told police: The boy doesn't have pets because he kills them.
If the behavior is repeated, or committed by an older child, "it may be a symptom of some other issues," and require professional help.
"It's really dangerous for a child . . . to not learn that animals feel pain," Ascione said.
One of Ascione's studies found that five of 11 U.S. school shooters from 1996 to 1999 had allegations of animal abuse in their past.
Left unchecked, violence against animals can give a child a sense of excitement and power that may lead to other types of abuse in later life, Ascione said.

post #2 of 7
I give training workshops around the country to social service workers, child protection workers, domestic violence workers, and humane society workers about this very topic. Frank Ascione is one of the leaders in the field of research on this topic and is one of my heroes. I have tremendous respect for what he does and for how hard he fights to educate the people who need to know about the link between child abuse, domestic violence and animal maltreatment.

Bravo to Frank Ascione for winning this award! He deserves it!
post #3 of 7
This guy definitely has something here. And, it's about time that animal abuse was looked into ALOT more thoroughly than it has in the past. Afterall, Jeffrey Dahlmer's first victim was a kitten that he killed and dismembered in his grandmother's basement. Think about it!
post #4 of 7
Animal abuse and serial killing has been established and documented for over 20 years. I don't see why he was given an award for something already proven, not only by psychologists, but also by the FBI. There's been so many books I've read on serial killers: Dahmaer, John Wayne Gacy, Bundy, Tool, Ed Kemper etc...really diseased minds and all of them began torchering and killing animals as children. Check out any of those names on the net and the story will defintely state that they began on animals...Sick, huh? I don't begrudge an award to anyone and I'm always happy to see it received...I guess I just don't understand this one.
post #5 of 7
Catarina, I think he was awarded more for his research on the link between animal maltreatment and child abuse/domestic violence than for the research on serial killers. Until Ascione came along, few people were aware that when a person abuses an animal he/she almost always also abuses the children or adult partner in the home. So, without Ascione, we wouldn't know to look for child abuse whenever we see animal abuse and we wouldn't know to look out for the welfare of pets in homes where we know kids or spouses are being abused. Now, based on Ascione's research we are trying to educate animal welfare officers to be on the look out for child abuse whenever they investigate animal maltreatment AND we are trying to help convince investigators of child abuse and domestic violence to keep an eye out for animal abuse when they are doing home visits. Also, we are trying to help domestic violence shelters to develop a plan to take in pets of abused spouses because the violent spouse will hurt the pet deliberately in order to control the victim and to keep the victim from leaving or from telling about the abuse.
post #6 of 7
Hi there :angel2:

Yes, I do see what you're saying and I'm delighted to see his efforts in conducting his research in this area. I am very surprised, actually shocked that this connection was not made earlier; as they do go hand in hand. The Animal Control Divison of Martin County should be well commended on their association then...reporting two child abuse cases within two months of it's inception. That was about 15 years ago...Seems that most people turn a blind eye to animal abuse contingent upon if it does or does not play a role in child abuse/spouse abuse...How sick!

Nevertheless, it's always fantastic news when someone actually gets recognized for their dedication to research animal abuse and the correlation it may have towards abused children or adults.

post #7 of 7
Catarina, I remember hearing that in Florida, the animal protection office was once (in the early 1900's) a part of what was then the social services office. Thus, unlike most states, in Florida the animal welfare folks have almost always been aware of the link and have almost always had communication with social services. Having lived most of my life in Florida, I was pleased to hear that Florida has been a leader in recognizing the link between animal amaltreatment and child abuse!
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