Cute funny rabbits in cage
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
March 26, 2024 ·  4 min read

9-Year-Old Boy Put in Care Program After Strangling 11 Animals to Death at Petting Zoo

In a heartbreaking tale, a 9-year-old boy from the Netherlands, went on a violent killing spree. Strangling 11 animals, 9 rabbits and 2 guinea pigs. He won’t be facing legal consequences as he’s under the age of 12. However, the boy will undergo rigorous therapy at a care center.

The 9-year-old, whose identity is anonymous, left the house on a solo trip to the Zoo on March 11th. It’s unknown why he attended the zoo alone on that day—but had previously visited the zoo with his parents on multiple occasions. Nonetheless, he ventured out independently and took matters into his own hands.

No Remorse

He was unremorseful after the act, “Showing no emotion,” according to the petting zoo manager, Ali Dorenbos. After the zoo staff discovered his violent act, they contacted the police, and his parents were also alerted. “It makes you completely sick.” Dorenbos further shared. Sadly, this isn’t the only reported case of animal abuse, resulting in death, from an unsupervised child.

This isn’t Dorenbos’ first encounter with a violent child. Or wounded animals as a result. She explained that she’d also seen, “The sheep were shot with bows and arrows, their udders were pulled, and the goats were shaken by their horns,” adding that calves and chickens have also been victimized by bullying from children.

An Alarming Trend

There have been about 500 individuals sharing videos of themselves harming animals across numerous platforms in the UK, including WhatsApp. Some animals have been catapulted with things, while others have been kicked to death. Animals that have been targeted in these violent acts include pigs, deer, foxes, squirrels, rabbits, and various birds.

Read More: Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads (and Why You Shouldn’t Either)

Compassion is Key

While many people have been outraged by the events, some have taken a more compassionate approach. Recognizing that many of these children “feel bad.”I feel sorry for the animals, but also for the little boy who apparently feels so bad that he has to do this,” explains Dutch Psychiatrist Esther van Fenema. She further states that these kinds of violent acts should be addressed by parents as soon as possible because they’ll have much harsher consequences in the future. They could be “worrying sign of behavioral disorder[s] in children,” she added. “If you kill an animal in the house; explain to the child, why. Even if it is an insect. So, that [he/she] learns that you don’t wring the neck of a guinea pig, which is harmful.”

Meanwhile, psychiatrist Dr. Lim Boon Leng, shares that the behavior “might be indicative of underlying emotional distress and may be a reflection of the child’s difficult or abusive environment.”

In contrast, “Addressing the incident allows for an opportunity to educate the child (to understand) right from wrong in the very least,” he highlights. “Leaving the incidents alone is detrimental to the child and may result in the behaviors escalating.”

Read More: Parents warned over dangers of your children wearing winter coat inside cars

Hurt People Hurt Others

The sad reality is that many people have suffered from their own lifetime of abuse, betrayal, or disappointment. As a result, many are internally wounded and then have children without having first healed themselves. As a result, violence and abuse become a vicious and never-ending cycle. Alternatively, more and more people are learning the importance of healing their hearts. So, their children don’t have to work hard to heal their hearts. While finding a balance between disciplinary actions and preventing emotional scarring has been challenging to navigate, numerous professionals and resources are available to help parents address these concerns.

Navigating Tough Moments with Grace

First, it’s important to note that while most acts of violence from children are the result of suffering abuse themselves, other causes may include curiosity or peer pressure, and in some cases a fear of the animal.

Secondly, not every child who partakes in violent behaviors will grow up to be “homicidal.” However, there are a few warning signs to look out for because they could indicate other violent tendencies down the road. Psychologist Joni E. Johnston explains that people who have an excessive need for praise, exploit others for their own personal gain, or have frequent or recurring violent tendencies should be evaluated by a professional. “Locking a pet inside a closed space, violently lashing out at a pet after getting in trouble with a parent or taking pleasure in watching an animal in pain are all “red flags” that signal the need for professional intervention.” She explained. “This is particularly true when the child has the cognitive maturity to understand that what s/he is doing is wrong, and repeatedly does it anyway.”

Above all else, it’s important for parents to monitor the things their children are exposed to closely. For example, that may be difficult in a school setting, but at home, parents can set parameters around what videos and shows their kids can watch. Moreover, it’s important to have open dialogue as a family, so that children’s curiosity can be addressed, including something controversial that they may have learned from a friend or classmate. Also, it is important to ensure that questions or actions are met with an open mind, informative responses, and an alternative for expressing big feelings.

Read More: A mother fell asleep with her infant in her arms. He died from SIDS, and now she warns other parents about the dangers of co-sleeping.


  1. “Boy, 9, strangled rabbits at petting zoo then walked off showing no emotion.” Metro. Sarah Hooper. March 20, 2024.
  2. Children Who Are Cruel to Animals: When to Worry.Psychology Today. Joni Johnston. April 27, 2011.
  3. The Hidden Danger of the Homicidal Narcissist.Psychology Today. Joni Johnston. January 28, 2023.
  4. Boy, 9, Put In Care Program After Strangling 11 Animals At Petting Zoo.Bored Panda. Marina Urman and Karina Babenok. March 19, 2024.