Experts say abusing animals can lead to hurting humans

Experts say abusing animals can lead to hurting humans


6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- 6 News has new information in the case of aggravated animal cruelty charges against Tyler Chadwell, 19, of Maynardville. 

Chadwell was arrested last week after investigators say they found the bodies of two puppies in a fire pit in his backyard. 

The bodies were sent to the UT Vet School for necropsies and the Union County Humane Society now says preliminary findings show the puppies were dead before being burned. Details on how they died aren't being released at this time. 

"Veterinary social work is very new," says UT program Director Dr. Elizabeth Strand.

She's studying why young people who hurt pets sometimes grow up to hurt humans.

"It will help us know more precisely how strong is this relationship and help us to predict more precisely when someone may end up going on into interpersonal violence and when it was just a reflection of a child's difficulty at home and a little bit of talking to and care can help that behavior change," Dr. Strand says.

Strand is a certified AniCare therapist. Judges can turn to her to counsel animal abusers.

"Oftentimes, animal cruelty just reflects that there's something amiss in the person and they just need some support, education and guidance to deal with whatever is bothering them," she says.

It was back in the mid 1980s, Strand says, that the FBI started noticing a pattern of serial killers who tortured animals growing up. 

"And the type of animal cruelty, I want to note, was of the aggravated sort. So it was the sadistic sort and it was repetitive and it started very early," Strand says.

She is in favor of a proposed Tennessee bill that would start an animal abuser registry.

"I think it is positive for us to have a way of tracking people who engage in animal abuse," she says.

The suspect in the Maynardville puppy abuse case, Tyler Chadwell, is due to be in court next Friday. He's currently being held on a $50,000 bond.

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