Don’t some children unintentionally harm animals?

Yes, children sometimes cause harm to animals without an intent to harm, and they may lack knowledge about the effects of their actions on the animal. Young children commonly engage in behaviors such as killing insects and sometimes even harming or killing animals as they explore nature and the world around them. Since animal maltreatment by children and youth may be indicative of more problematic behaviors, it is important to learn more about the context and extent of the child’s behaviors in order to determine if the child or youth’s behaviors represent a future ongoing danger to animals. For children and youth engaging in “normative” exploration, such  experiences provide an excellent opportunity for parents and caregivers to have “teachable moments” to educate about humane care and interactions with animals.