Teachers often keep quiet if they become aware of a student hurting a pet for fear that reporting it will result in that young person being labelled as violent. But the reasons for this behaviour are far more varied than we have been led to believe, and could actually signal that such children are themselves in danger. Emma Seith reports
Nikolas Cruz had got into trouble for shooting chickens. He had also boasted about killing animals and posted images of them on social media. There are even stories about him trying to get his dog to attack a neighbour’s potbellied piglets.
In February 2018, Cruz killed 17 staff and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida.
In the UK, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables would often, according to neighbours, shoot pigeons with air rifles and tie rabbits to railway lines to watch them be run over.
In 1993, when they were just 10 years old, they killed toddler James Bulger in ...