Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Death of Innocents

I can't point to a specific reason why this story bothers me so much but it probably has to do with the Mother pushing the kid off that dark, point-of-no-return cliff called compassion:
As punishment for bad grades, a Georgia mother forced her 12-year-old son to kill his pet hamster with a hammer, police said.
The Mother has been arrested and charged with animal and child cruelty, along with battery. But the thing is, justice can never be served. What justice could there be? Obviously nothing can bring back the hamster but for the kid - well, this can't be undone. He's been violently and cruelly robbed of something intangible which no child should have to live without, and by his protector in this world - his Mother.


mb. said...

this is not so unusual as we would wish. The hammer is a special touch but I went to school with a girl who had to flush live fish as a punishment & my mother once found two lovebirds in their cage in a dumpster, put there by a boy at his mother's insistence because "he was bad". My mom was a visiting nurse & had a patient in the building; she learned on her next visit who the birds belonged to because the boy was going door-to-door sobbing because his mother let him go back for them & someone had taken the birds (yes, my mom took them home & kept them; they would not have survived more than a few minutes-it was winter in New England). She mailed pictures to the boy so he would know they were OKay & called child protective services, but this was 15+ years ago the agency never took it seriously.

I know nothing about the boy in the story, but I know the girl who had to kill her own fish has not spoken to her mother since she left home in 1983. They had many horrible issues, but the fish story always made my skin crawl. & it is not until this moment that I realized all the stories I have ever heard about this kind of thing involved moms.

Retrieverman said...

In a lot of places, that wouldn't be considered animal cruelty at all. Aren't hamsters laboratory animals?

Well, a lot of animal cruelty laws won't apply to them.

YesBiscuit! said...

Wow mb, that is not a comment I was expecting! I've honestly never heard of this idea of "punishing" a child by forcing him to kill a pet but I guess like all things, by the time it makes the news, it's been going on for years.
Retrieverman - not sure she's going to want to hire an attorney and fight this in court on the grounds of "it's ok to make my child hammer his pet hamster to death since they're basically lab rats anyway". Can't picture that going well. A more likely scenario to my mind is she'll just take her lumps on the animal cruelty charges and be done with it. I'm guessing the child cruelty charges will be more serious.

jan said...

This was a new thing for me too. The child will probably be in therapy for years, but i hope he is put into a loving home as soon as possible.

mb. said...

not to make you completely sad but there is a chapter in a memoir; I can picture the entire cover except the title. Anyhow, two boys had more than one incident like this (the longest running one was being forced to kill strays so they wouldn't bring them home any more, very disturbing). One of them ends up in prison & one became a minister in the cowboy church (it's a rodeo thing & rodeo is very big here).

Another friend of mine (a mutual friend to the poor fish flusher, I will have to ask if that kicked off her interest) did her doctoral thesis on almost-this, so I am probably over exposed. Her theory is a small number of backyard animal rescues are some larger, broader version of Munchausen by Proxy. As I could be considered a backyard rescue I pay attention when she speaks. I started watching a couple of other rescues closer than I would have otherwise & I'm sorry to say I think she might be on to something.

FrogDogz said...

Isn't this part of what's going on that horrific NJ animal killing case?

The nutjob mom who killed neighbourhood dogs and 'rescues', and buried them in her yard, had apparently also forced her kids to take part in her crimes. I believe it was one of her kids who was the ultimate whistle blower.

Found the link -

YesBiscuit! said...

To me this is different in that the Mother is forcing the kid to kill the pet as a punishment. I haven't read that the NY Mother was using the same "reasoning". But it is similar in the irreparable damage it is likely to do to the kids. So terribly sad.

Kasha said...

That is exactly right. The damage done from that ridiculous choice of discipline is too big to imagine right now. Give him 13 plus years and we will hear of even bigger killings.

CyborgSuzy said...

Retrieverman, I work on the same floor as cancer researchers who use rodents in some of their research.

I'll be sure and ask them if one of their sacrifice methods is to force children to smash the rodents with blunt objects.

sfox said...

One of the things that abusers do is threaten the woman's pets. Some women stay in abusive situations because they are afraid for their pet and can't find a shelter that will let them keep them.

But this punishment of kids by forcing them to kill their pet....thought I'd heard everything, but not this one. Appalling.