CHILDREN & ANIMALS

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1992:

Serbian soldier Borislav Herak, 21, who may
become the first person executed for war crimes since 1945,
told New York Times reporter John Burns in November that
senior personnel taught him to kill by having him assist in
cutting pigs’ throats. Herak is charged with murdering 29
Moslem civilians between July and late October, and has
confessed to participating in more than 220 murders––most
of the victims women and children, many of them killed in
connection with rape. Herak, captured in mid-November
by Bosnian troops, goes to trial this month.
The first known controlled clinical trial of thera-
py and education involving animals, conducted by the
University of Pennsylvania, has confirmed what pet therapy
and classroom pet advocates have insisted all along: that
children learn more readily in the presence of other species.

The trial took place at the Devereaux School, in
Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, a facility for people of all ages
who have emotional and/or developmental handicaps. Trial
supervisor Aaron Katcher, a psychiatrist, observed that stu-
dents progressed from taking care of animals to taking care
of other children. In 1978 Katcher produced a study
demonstrating that the social support of pets could enhance
the survival rate of heart attack victims. He later won the
first NIH training grant ever awarded for the purpose of
introducing veterinary and human health professionals to
the potential value of animal contact.
Gary Washington, 11, of New Orleans, has
received a special “Golden Heart” award from Legislation
In Support of Animals for surrendering his pet pit bull terri-
er to the group so that older boys in the neighborhood
wouldn’t force the dog to fight. “I didn’t want them to hurt
my dog,” Washington said when he telephoned LISA, “so
someone said to call you.”
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