AV Preeminent
The Florida Bar

Animal Cruelty and Violent Crimes

Broward criminal lawyer William Moore is interested in the psychology behind serial killers and violent crime more generally. This has been a hot topic in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties following the arrest of accused cat killer Tyler Weinman last month. The link between offenders who engage in animal cruelty and later other criminal activity has been established for many years, but the topic remains an interesting discussion. It is vital to remember, however, that Weinman is innocent until proven guilty and that he has been accused of no violent crimes and none towards humans.

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According to a recent study of violent crimes and behavior preceding criminal activity, 70 percent of 153 defendants convicted of animal cruelty were later charged with other crimes. Of that group, 38 percent of the arrests were for violent offenses, 37 percent were for drug crimes, 37 percent were charged with “disorderly offenses” (such as public intoxication), and 44 percent were charged with property crimes. A study in Australia found even more links, says Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer Moore. That study found that those convicted of abusing animals later had very high rates of reoffending in other ways. Eight percent were subsequently convicted of arson, 17 percent of sex offenses, and 61.5 percent of violent offenses against people. It is not clear how large the sample size was in the latter study, however, and therefore what, if any, conclusions can be drawn from the data are unknown.

The spate of school shootings in the 1990s also brought on questions regarding the link between animal abusers and violent crime, including murder, manslaughter, armed robbery, assault, and other offenses. One study found half of the youths involved in carrying out the nine school shootings that occurred between 1996 and 1999 had a known history of abusing animals. The link between serial killers and animal abuse has also been widely discussed. Over a fifth of 354 serial killers studied self-reported histories of animal cruelty, although the study’s authors concluded that the figure was likely low due to the tendency to underreport one’s own negative actions.

Adolescence is the time period in which violent criminals and especially serial killers are most likely to have abused animals, although significant numbers exist to show that serial killers are fairly likely to do so both as children and as adults. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Moore believes that animal abuse may indicate a violent disposition or identify individuals who have particularly malicious personalities, neither of which constitutes the disposition of the average person arrested for a criminal matter.

Broward criminal lawyer William Moore has years of experience in criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A felony or misdemeanor conviction of any type can have far-reaching consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested in south Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., with offices in Broward.

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William is an amazing lawyer on the first day he took my case from a felony to a misdemeanor. He always answered my calls and text messages, never a problem. He was always the one in court not sending someone else, unlike my last lawyer. 10/10 would recommend. If I ever have any other problems, he will be the first person I call. Shane B.