Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was sent to prison in 1992 for murdering and cannibalizing at least 17 people in a Milwaukee killing spree between 1978 and 1991. As a child, he would capture animals and torture them, impaling frogs, cats, and dogs’ heads on sticks.
Decades ago, the FBI recognized that many serial killers started out torturing and killing animals as children. Here are just a few of the many high profile examples:
- The school shootings that took place between 1997 and 2001 in: Pearl, Miss.; West Paducah, Ky.; Jonesboro, Ark.; Springfield, Ore.; Littleton, Colo.; Conyers, Ga.; and San Diego, Calif., all contain a common element. Prior to killing their classmates and teachers, all of the boys involved in these school shootings had performed acts of animal cruelty such as shooting dogs, setting cats on fire, blowing up cows, and killing other small animals, prior to killing humans.
- Albert DeSalvo, the “Boston Strangler,” killed 13 women. When he was a boy, he put cats and dogs into orange crates and shot arrows through the slats to kill them.
- Ted Bundy was a serial rapist and killer of at least 30 women. As a youth he tortured and killed animals.
- Patrick Sherrill, who killed 14 coworkers at a post office and then shot himself, had a history of stealing local pets and allowing his own dog to attack and mutilate them.
- Dennis Rader, the BTK killer in Wichita, Kan., killed at least 10 people. He abused and killed animals for practice prior to killing people.