Video of Teens Torturing Deer Raises Questions About Mental Health
We’ve got continuing coverage on the gruesome viral video of two young men, purportedly torturing a wounded deer.
Charges are expected to come this week, from the PA Game Commission, but we're learning about more potential animal abuse allegations against the same individuals.
Since our story aired, comments have been pouring in our Erie News Now Facebook page.
The video shows two young men beating, taunting, snickering, and ripping the antlers off a wounded buck.
Many Facebook users have since shared other videos of a group of teens also torturing a chipmunk and violently killing a woodchuck, claiming it's the same young men.
Erie News Now has not been able to independently confirm that those videos are of the same individuals.
But it all raises concerns about mental health, and the connection animal abuse has to mental health issues.
Erie News Now spoke with Mandy Fauble, Director of Safe Harbor Behavioral Health of UPMC Hamot.
She says there is a strong link between harm to animals and a history of abuse, as people who violently abuse animals may have experienced trauma or abuse themselves, or they might have anger management issues, “There is a link, that people that hurt others are more likely to have experienced hurt themselves, but we never want to put people in a box of ‘Well you were hurt as a child, so you'll hurt other people, or you hurt an animal when you were a teenager so you'll hurt other people,’ because people do things that can be pretty terrible, but it doesn't mean that they will only do terrible things,” said Fauble.
Fauble tells Erie News Now, if someone takes pleasure in hurting another person or animal, it raises concerns about their ability to empathize, but it doesn't mean they cannot be rehabilitated, “Animal abuse is normally about unbridled anger, not knowing how to handle anger, or not feeling in control because of something that's happened and people exercising that feeling of power, so if we can teach people healthier strategies for feeling in control of things and for coping with their anger, there's a lot of hope that people can make better choices,” Fauble said.
Fauble says if a parent is recognizing their kid is seeing joy in hurting or killing animals, you should talk about it with them to see what's going on, and maybe reach out to a mental health professional or primary care doctor if needed.