Beyond Violence
beyonf violence logo The Link Between Violence Against Animals & Violence Against Humans

Beyond Violence is a project of Society & Animals Forum (formerly known as PSYETA) working in partnership with the Doris Day Animal Foundation

"Beyond Violence" is a Society & Animals Forum project offering products addressing a serious societal problem.

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In 1999, we all witnessed the most horrific case of school violence in U.S. history when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Littleton, Colorado killed fourteen of their classmates and one teacher at Columbine High School. Scores more were wounded.  Both young men had spoken of mutilating animals and expressed interest in occult rituals.

Beyond Violence Cover

Nineteen nighty-eight had also been a year for notorious crimes committed by young people with prior histories of animal abuse, and 2001 had its own atrocities of violence. The body counts for the seven months from October of 1997 to May of 1998 were twelve dead and forty-four wounded in four schools in  Springfield, Oregon; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Pearl, Mississippi, and West Paducah, Kentucky.

Prior to these school shootings:

  • Kip Kinkel decapitated cats, dissected live squirrels and blew up cows
  • Andrew Golden shot dogs before he turned his guns on his classmates
  • Luke Woodham beat and burned his own dog, Sparkle, describing his dog's painful and tortured death as a "thing of true beauty"
  • Michael Carneal threw a cat into a bonfire

It isn't just youthful offenders who move from animal abuse to violence toward humans. Russell Weston Jr., the man who is awaiting trial for shooting two Capitol Hill police officers, shot his father's cats before his assault on the Capitol.

Animal abuse doesn't occur in isolation; rather, it takes place in a complex net of disturbed family relations.  For example, animal abuse is frequently found in families where there also is child abuse and domestic violence. Children in these disturbed families who witness the abuse of family companion animals are more likely to abuse animals; in addition, children who commit animal cruelty are more likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults.

We also see a close link between domestic violence and animal abuse. In one national survey of women seeking shelter from domestic violence in safe houses, 83% of women with companion animals reported that their batterers had also hurt or threatened the family pet.

The Video and Discussion Guide


With "Beyond Violence" we hope to stimulate discussions among mental health professionals, parents, teachers, law enforcement officials, and religious leaders about the human-animal relationship, and the importance of that relationship in advancing beyond violence.  The video does more than examine the link between animal abuse and human violence.  It also depicts the many ways in which animals foster and support human development--a relationship with an animal can help an individual heal from emotional injury, promote emotional development, teach us about compassion and caring, and engender a sense of ethics and responsibility.

The Spanish language version of the video is available!

Society & Animal Forum's "Beyond Violence" Project is more than a video.

Partnered with the Doris Day Animal Foundation, Society & Animals Forum has produced several products that are now available:
"Beyond Violence: The Human-Animal Connection" Video and Discussion Guide (in both English and Spanish language versions.)

The AniCare Model of Treatment for Animal Abuse, the first psychological treatment approach specifically for the treatment of animal abusers.

AniCare Child: an Assessment and Treatment Approach for Childhood Animal Abuse - the first published treatment approach to focus exclusively on juvenile cruelty to animals.

"The Violence Connection: An Examination of the Link Between Animal Abuse and other Violent Crimes,"a booklet for judges, prosecutors, and other legal and human service professionals.

A Collection of our Journal Articles on the Link.

You can help support this important work! Society & Animals Forum sends its project directors around the nation conducting training sessions with mental health professionals, parents, teachers, and law enforcement groups and giving presentations to raise awareness about the "Violence connection." 
Society&Animals Forum
Violence Link
Animals in the Classroom
Resources & Educational Material
How You Can Help