Killings, Abuse of Yakima Dogs Prompt PETA Offer of Empathy Training for Schoolchildren


For Immediate Release:
December 11, 2023

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Yakima, Wash. – Following reports that two more dogs—one of whom died—were found abused in Yakima County in November, TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division, sent Yakima School District Superintendent Trevor Greene an urgent letter today offering to provide the district with kindness-to-animals materials in English and Spanish, along with a collection of children’s books that teach lessons in empathy. The offer follows a string of dog killings in the area—highlighting the need for empathy training early in life.

PETA notes that from March to May, five dogs in the area were found dead and showed signs of abuse, including starvation and injuries consistent with blunt force trauma, and in August, another dog was found fatally shot.

“Children who learn empathy grow into kind and compassionate adults, but whoever is abusing and killing these dogs clearly never received humane education as a child,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind is urging Superintendent Greene to incorporate these free materials into Yakima schools’ curricula so children can learn the importance of empathy toward all sentient beings, and we urge everyone, no matter their age, to report abuse when they see it.”

In addition to other humane education materials, TeachKind is offering children’s books to each elementary school library in the Yakima School District, including these titles that foster empathy for dogs and other animals: Hobbes Goes Home, Buddy Unchained, Maverick and Me, and Junebug: No Life Too Small.

Sandy Hook Promise includes cruelty to animals on its “10 Critical Warning Signs of Violence” list, and research shows that approximately 43% of school shooters first committed acts of cruelty against animals—so animal abusers potentially pose a serious threat to communities at large. TeachKind resources are easy to integrate into schools’ existing curricula to help prevent future violence.

TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook, or Instagram.


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