‘Lock them up’: Research shows link between animal abuse, violence after father kills four

As a father sits behind bars charged with the murder of four people, a link between animal abuse and violence is coming to light.

On Wednesday, FOX 35 first told you about a death investigation in Brevard County where deputies say a father killed his teenage daughter, his ex, and two others. Years before, records show the suspect killed two dogs.

A 1997 study by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University found that animal abusers are in fact five times as likely to also harm other humans.

Domenico Gigante, 36, is facing four counts of first-degree pre-meditated murder. The Brevard County Sheriff says he never should have been on the streets in the first place because of his violent past.

"You lock them up. You put them away where they can’t harm anybody else," Sheriff Wayne Ivey exclaimed. "There is a direct correlation between somebody that can harm an animal, somebody that has enough evil inside to harm an animal has that same level of evil to harm a human."

Animal abuse prevention expert and founder of "Ponce’s Law", which made animal abuse a felony in Florida, agrees.

"That’s sort of their test. They go on to hurting people, children, women, elderly, the weaker type people that they can control and hurt," said Debbie Darino.

A study done in 2013 found that 43% of school shooters abused animals at some point before a massacre.

"The real issue is the reason these people are abusing animals, and most of them have anger issues or drug problems," Darino added.

The sheriff wants animal abusers locked up for longer with higher bonds and stricter enforcement so pets and people are protected and tragedies are prevented.

"Create laws that are going to allow us to keep them in jail longer, create bonds that are going to keep them locked up behind bars," Ivey concluded.

It’s important to report abuse of all kinds. If you see something, say something. Early intervention goes a long way to save lives.