Although I think it's mean and pointless to hurt a helpless creature, I don't really care what people do to their own animals. There shouldn't be any criminal punishment for hurting an animal you own, and if you hurt someone else's animal you should be prosecuted similarly to any other form of property crime.
An 11-year-old Indianapolis girl faces legal trouble after witnesses told Indianapolis police she intentionally mistreated a kitten Saturday night by swinging it in the air with a cord tied around its neck.The story doesn't indicate if the child owned the animal or not, but it's pretty absurd to criminally charge an 11-year-old.
The girl was arrested on a Class A misdemeanor charge of torturing or killing a vertebrate animal. Animal Care and Control officials said in a report that the animal had to be euthanized because of injuries to its neck and its poor health.
The incident happened in the 2300 block of North Moreland Avenue around 6:30 p.m. An Indianapolis police officer who arrived to investigate also reported seeing the girl slam the kitten onto a wagon and heard the kitten cry out, according to a report.
My real concern in cases like these is that torturing small animals is part of the terrible triad of childhood behaviors, along with pyromania and bedwetting, that are common among psychopaths and sociopaths. According to Mindhunter author and former FBI agent John E. Douglas, something like 80% of serial killers displayed two or three of these behaviors by age 12. Certainly not everyone who does these things will become a serial killer, but there are other dangers associated with such mental pathologies; this girl should probably be put under psychiatric monitoring for a while, and her parents should be taught to look for other signs of future trouble.