Monica Millican, president of the Friends of League City Animal Shelter, is absolutely justified in her concern about the mental health of whoever set three kittens ablaze last month, leaving them badly injured and scarred for life.
Everybody in League City should be as concerned and outraged about this crime as Millican and others in the animal-care community rightly are.
“This is a psychopath in the making,” Millican told a Daily News reporter this week.
That’s not hyperbole or even a slight overstatement made in anger. It’s just a fact.
Violence and cruelty toward animals are bad enough just in themselves. But that tendency indicates a mind that has gone off the rails and in a direction far worse even than the case at hand.
Numerous studies have found links between violence and cruelty toward animals and violence and cruelty toward people. One study found that between 71 percent and 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partners also abused or killed the family pet, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Another study found that in 88 percent of the families under supervision for the physical abuse of children, the pets also had been physically abused.
Studies have found a strong association between acts of animal cruelty in youth and acts of mass murder, such as school shootings, in later life.
There is at least a strong anecdotal association between violence against animals and the serial killing of human beings. Mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, for example, began his violent career by brutally killing cats and dogs.
Albert DeSalvo, the “Boston Strangler,” trapped, tortured and killed dogs and cats.
While many facts about the League City kitten case are unknown, enough are known to be very concerning.
Shelter manager Kim Schoolcraft, a retired police officer, said she believes the kittens were intentionally harmed.
“They were tortured,” she told the newspaper. “It’s pretty horrific.”
Millican also was correct in saying that someone in League City knows something about how the kittens got to be badly burned. That’s very likely to be true, anyway.
Somebody put the burned kittens in a box and left them at the League City Animal Shelter, 821 N. Kansas Ave., at 2:46 p.m. Nov. 12, according to the police incident report.
Employees found the box and were able to get medical attention for the kittens, which kept them from dying of their injuries.
Police are treating the incident as a criminal case of cruelty to non-livestock animals and listed fire or an incendiary device as the weapon, according to a report.
League City police have no suspects, and the investigation is stalled because officers have no leads to pursue, department spokesman Kelly Williamson said.
“We just have nothing on it whatsoever,” he said.
Did the same person who burned the kittens put them in that box and take them to the shelter? That’s hard to believe. It’s more likely that some other person or people close to and informed about the incident did so.
We urge that person to call the police and tell them who committed this crime. We’re not suggesting that out of desire to see someone punished. Whoever burned those kittens needs mental health care just as badly as the kittens needed care for physical wounds. That won’t happen unless somebody makes it happen.
• Michael A. Smith