Two teen boys in York County, South Carolina, are facing felony cruelty-to-animals charges for trying to drown a kitten. The 13- and 15-year-old boys posted a video of themselves on Snapchat that showed them abusing a 6-week-old kitten. ?

Officials from an animal-rescue organization came across the video and immediately reported the abuse to authorities. Luckily, the kitten—now named Layla—was taken from the home and is being observed and treated at a vet’s office. She’ll be up for adoption soon.

When confronted by law enforcement, one of the teens said that he and the other boy were “just having fun.” ???

? ASSAULTING ? ANIMALS ? IS ? CRUEL. ?

Animal abusers are bullies and cowards who take out their frustrations on those who are weaker than them. Only someone with deep insecurities could do something as sick and disturbing as trying to drown a kitten and then posting about it on Snapchat. This cruel behavior, whatever the cause, is dangerous to both human and nonhuman animals. Abuse always needs to be reported immediately.

In fact, the deadly violence that has taken place in schools in recent years has, in many cases, begun with cruelty to animals.

Kip Kinkel killed his parents and opened fire in his school cafeteria, killing two and injuring 22 others. He had a history of animal abuse and torture, having boasted about killing animals.

The FBI has actually identified cruelty to animals as a warning sign of more violence to come, and many school shooters and serial killers have a history of abusing animals.

“There is a common theme to all of the shootings of recent years. You have a child who has symptoms of aggression toward his peers, an interest in fire, cruelty to animals, social isolation, and many warning signs that the school has ignored.”

– Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, director of the Child Study Center at New York University

As messed up as it is, cases of teenagers torturing, abusing, and even killing animals are all too common. PETA regularly hears disturbing reports involving young people who have allegedly abused animals—and we can assume that countless other instances go unreported.

The kitten in this case was removed because someone spoke up and reported what was seen on Snapchat. It’s been proved that things change when people stand together and speak out against injustice.

If you ever witness or hear about a friend or classmate bullying an animal (including on social media), always report it. Notify animal control or the police immediately. If neither responds quickly, contact PETA. We’ve been able to stop multiple cases of cruelty to animals because people like YOU have reported them to us. We must never be silent in the face of abuse.

Help animals in your community. Always speak up.