A LEADING criminologist has warned “psychopaths” could be behind a recent spate of dog poisonings.
Psychologist David Wilson told the Evening Times culprits could have Zoosadism – a disorder which means they take pleasure in the suffering of animals.
It comes after a raft of incidents including dog biscuits being laced with nails, staples and poisonous anti-freeze in Glasgow and Lanarkshire.
The SSPCA had 54 reports of dog poisoning cases but none have resulted in a conviction.
It is said to be “almost impossible” for cops to punish the perpetrators of such crimes.
Professor Wilson suggested the “generic” poisoning incidents in public parks could be a result of something a lot more sinister.
He says those responsible are either psychopaths or suffering from an undiagnosed form of psychosis.
The founding director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University said: “In research literature it’s called IATC which means intentional animal torture and cruelty.
“These aren’t targeted attacks and they’re much more generic.
“When you’re dealing with much more generic attacks, then it would be either a form of paraphilia or zoosadism.
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“Some people who gain sexual pleasure out of torturing or being cruel to animals.
“But because this particular perpetrator wouldn’t necessarily see these animals being harmed or in distress, again you’re probably dealing with another form of intentional animal torture and cruelty, which reveals something about the underlying mental health of the person who is engaging in these behaviours.
“They will often have a personality disorder such as psychopathy or they may be experiencing some form of psychosis, which are two very different things.
“If you’re dealing with psychopathy, cruelty to animals has sometimes been seen as one of three factors that can predict violent behaviours, as well as bed-wetting and fire starting.
“If this is one particular perpetrator as opposed to several, then you can also think about IATC as being about spite and revenge.
“You can sometimes see people who are cruel to animals in this way but have not targeted a specific animal, just as a way of exerting some form of revenge on people who might be dog owners.
“Therefore he gains revenge on a specific dog owner by being cruel to dog owners more generally.
You’re probably dealing with another form of intentional animal torture and cruelty, which reveals something about the underlying mental health of the person who is engaging in these behaviours.”
“It’s a very diverse phenomenon and these people seem to be targeting dogs as a species in general.”
SSPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn found it difficult to explain the motives behind the twisted individuals targeting the animals.
He said: “We’ve had 54 dog poisonings since January 2018 but the problem you’ve got is that it’s so hard to detect.
“The nails being left in dog biscuits is new to me but that is obviously a deliberate act – there’s no way that could be accidental.
“If you go into one of these public parks, there’s around 100 people walking about and somebody just deliberately drops this, the chances of finding that person are slim.
“We’ve maybe caught four or five people, but we’ve caught them because they’re out boasting ‘right that’s me got rid of the cats from next door’ and all that kind of stuff.
“Then you find the poison in their premises and that’s how it gets brought to court.
“When you’re talking about in a park that’s probably not somebody targeting an individual animal.
“It’s just some random, very strange person and it’s just sickening.
“They probably don’t realise the damage that they’re doing and if they’d ever seen an animal that’s ingested this kind of stuff and the suffering it can do to them, then they’d really struggle to sleep at night.”
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We told last month how a Glasgow man urged dog owners to stay vigilant after his pooch was ‘poisoned with antifreeze’.
Ross Logan took to social media to issue the warning when his pet, Nala, fell ill after ‘eating laced food’ in Knightswood Golf Course.
A similar incident saw family’s beloved Jack Russell Bonnie passed away after being poisoned.
Three pooch ingested poison, feared to be antifreeze, near Craigton Primary School in Glasgow.
And a husky pup was also said to have died after ingesting a poisonous substance on the Kelvin Walkway in Glasgow’s west end.
A post on a local community Facebook page warned local dog-walkers to remain vigilant.
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