10 Jan 2011

'Chilling' cruelty to animals by young people

7:50 am on 10 January 2011

The SPCA says younger and younger offenders are committing terrible acts of cruelty on animals.

The national chief executive, Robyn Kippenberger, says one of the most chilling incidents during 2010 was a case of boys using a dog as a basketball.

She says everyone should be worried about the deepening abuse of animals because cruelty to animals can be linked with later abuse and neglect of children.

But Ms Kippenberger says an SPCA evaluation of a four year programme to teach 45,000 school children empathy with animals has shown it to be very successful.