Animal Abuse by Children...
...is bad enough. It can also be an early warning that such children will grow up to commit acts of extreme violence to humans later in life, says a Peta research study, according to this Guardian report:
Thomas Hamilton, the Dunblane killer, enjoyed shooting animals and squashing rabbits' heads beneath car wheels as a youth. Robert Thompson, who was 10 years old when he and John Venables killed two-year-old Jamie Bulger, pulled the heads off live birds....I'm not surprised.
Peta's research found that some children in abusive homes copy the abusers' behaviour. "Children in violent homes are characterised by frequently participating in pecking-order battering, in which they maim or kill an animal. Domestic violence is the most common background for childhood cruelty to animals."