van Wijk, A., Hardeman, M., & Endenburg, N. (2018). Animal abuse: Offender and offence characteristics. A descriptive study. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling.
This descriptive study was done to gain insight into the characteristics of animal abusers and animal abuse. On the basis of registrations by police, animal protection services, and the national reporting centre for animal welfare, 90 cases of animal abuse involving 97 offenders were analysed. Information about the offence and the offenders could be retrieved; the group of offenders was heterogeneous as to background and characteristics. Many were in debt, and 25% had 1 or more psychological disorders (e.g., antisocial personality disorders and autism spectrum disorders). Animal abuse often occurred because of frustration, and dogs were the main victims. Most cases of abuse took place in the home of the abuser. By taking the offence of animal abuse as starting point for studying the offenders’ characteristics, we gained insight into a broad spectrum of characteristics and backgrounds than would have been found if we had started from a domestic violence perspective or the graduation hypothesis. A larger study is needed to verify findings.