Seventy percent of violent criminals have a past history of abusing animals, and kids who abuse animals are twice as likely to commit violent crime.
Rescue the Animals SPCA is launching a new campaign to urge West Texans to report animal abuse.
The three dogs pictured here may look fine, but their owner Donnie Lynn Purdom, 61, is behind bars.
The Eastland man had five prior charges of animal abuse and was on probation for one when he was charged with two counts of indecency with a child.
A new campaign, Report Animal Abuse, wants you to know that unfortunately, Purdom's case isn't unique.
"Statistics have given us a very scary story that people who abuse animals will abuse children," said Taylor County Commissioner and Co-Chair Chuck Statler. "Maybe it's someone who thinks they can pick on someone weaker."
In fact, 30 percent of child abusers had abused animals first.
According to national crime statistics provided by the SPCA, animal abusers commit five times more violent crimes, four times more property crimes and four times more drug crimes.
"If we could get out there and tell people what it looks like if an animal has been abused they can look for the signs," said Co-Chair, Caroline Statler, Chuck's 12-year-old daughter. Caroline is spear-heading the part of the campaign focused on educating young people about animal abuse, which will be done primarily through updates on social media.
Chuck Statler said spotting animal abuse isn't difficult to do.
"If you're, say, driving down the road and you see a horse that looks like it's pretty boney, well that's a clue," he said. "If you see an animal that has a burn mark or scratch that looks unnatural, that's an abused animal."
Statler also said that besides the link to other violent crimes, animal abuse can affect the community in other ways.
"It costs us thousands of dollars every year when people neglect their horses, their livestock, dump their dogs and cats out in the country and I'm tired of that coming out of my back pocket as a taxpayer," he said.
Rescue the Animals, SPCA has asked city, county and school leaders in 20 West Texas counties to proclaim November as Report Animal Abuse month.
Taylor County Commissioners will decide Tuesday whether to pass that declaration for Taylor County.
300 ACU students will be going door to door in Abilene during the month of November to inform people about animal abuse.
If you want to organize a drive where you live, you can pick up door hangers at the Abilene Rescue the Animals adoption center, at 5933 S. First.
If you want to report animal abuse, you can call 325-677-SPCA or click here.