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Psychologist: Animal abusers often lack empathy | News

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Psychologist: Animal abusers often lack empathy

Abuse, whether it's an animal or human, is a very serious issue. Recently, All About Animals Rescue in Macon got a dog that was burned alive.

Mendy Harrison ,with the rescue group, said he was set on fire. "From neck to tail he's burnt," she said.

The pictures are too graphic to post, but since being found he's been getting treated. "They've had to shave him down to get down to the skin area," she said. "They continuously go in and remove the dead skin."

She said Phoenix just had his fourth surgery. Following hospitalization the rescue group announced Saturday evening that he has a "home pending."

This isn't the first abused animal that's ended up at the rescue. One cat had it's tail set on fire and a dog was used in fights.

Clinical Psychologist and Mercer University Professor, Miranda Pratt , who has pets of her own, said animal abusers could be abused themselves or lack empathy.

"Towards the other. And in some cases it's an active sadism of getting pleasure from inflicting pain," said Pratt.

She said it's important to teach empathy at a young age. If a child killed or tortured an animal, whether it's a frog or dog, Pratt said help teach them it's wrong. One way could be exposing them to nature and showing them the value of life.

"If they spend their day playing video games where things get blown up all the time they need to understand that there's a difference between a video game and the real world," she said.

When teaching a child it's wrong to hurt an animal Pratt said don't hit the child because that reinforces that it's OK to inflict pain.

However regardless of age, if someone abuses an animal, especially continuously, Pratt said that person needs to get help, like whoever hurt Phoenix.


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