Boy, 9, Showed “No Emotion” After Killing Animals At Dutch Zoo, Says Staff

The incident took place on March 11. (Representative pic)

A 9-year-old boy in the Netherlands strangled several animals to death during a solo trip to a petting zoo. According to Metro, the incident took place on March 11 at the Rekerhout petting zoo in Alkmaar, Netherlands. The boy, whose identity hasn’t been revealed, travelled alone to the zoo and killed up to nine rabbits and two guinea pigs with no apparent motive. He is said to have shown “no emotion” after he carried out the senseless attack. 

“It makes you completely sick,” zoo manager Ali Dorenbos said, as per the outlet. Police caught the child and his parents were called to the scene. He will not face criminal charges as he is under the age of 12, but he will be enrolled into a care programme, cops said. 

“I feel sorry for the animals, but also for the little boy who apparently feels so bad that he has to do this,” psychiatrist, Esther van Fenema, said of the incident. “If you kill an animal in the house; explain to the child why. Even if it is an insect. So that it learns that you don’t wring the neck of a guinea pig, which is harmful,” the psychiatrist added. 

According to Mirror, specialist Anne-Marie Le Buhan of the Het Geitenweitje Foundation in Laren, also commented on the incident. “Horrible. How? This is very extreme. And was there no supervision?” she said. 

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Meanwhile, this incident reportedly comes after it was revealed children are filming themselves using catapults to injure and kill animals in a UK-wide WhatsApp chat. Around 500 members across 110 group chats have shared footage of their killings, Metro reported. 

The clip showed injured animals slowly dying as they were shot with the catapults, while others were kicked to death. Animals targeted include pigs, deer, pigeons, foxes, squirrels, pheasants, rabbits, geese and ducks.

Psychologist Joni E. Johnston wrote of the warning signs parents should watch out for if their child is hurting animals. “Locking a pet inside a closed space, violently lashing out at a pet after getting in trouble with a parent, or taking pleasure in watching an animal in pain are all “red flags” that signal the need for professional intervention,” she said. “‘This is particularly true when the child has the cognitive maturity to understand that what s/he is doing is wrong, and repeatedly does it anyway,” she added.

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