Saturday, October 4, 2008

Seven Year Old Killer

[Goanna-he survived while his mate didn't]

When employees arrived at Alice Springs Reptile Centre in the Northern Territory, Austrialia on Wednesday morning, they first thought that 13 animals had escaped. The remains of the 13 were found in the pen of Terry, a 11 foot salt-water crocodile. Terry had been eating his fellow creatures. The Croc had help with his feast. Footage from security cameras revealed the horrible truth. A seven year old boy had climbed the fence, and in 35 minutes, he beat 13 large reptiles to death before feeding them to Terry:

[Among the dead were a turtle, 2 bearded dragon lizards], [4]thorny devils [lizards]and [5] western blue-tongue lizards, which are rare in captivity. Another victim was a 3ft goanna, a variety of monitor lizard and one of the zoo’s favourites.

Rex Neindorf, the zoo’s director, said that many of the animals were rare or mature and would be difficult to replace.

“It’s absolutely devastating for us - we’re just horrified,” Mr Neindorf told The Times yesterday. “The goanna was 20 years old - she was an absolute doll.”

He said that the boy, whose face was expressionless during the killing spree, had “clammed up” when questioned by police. He had climbed over a second fence to get a closer look at Terry and his victims. “He was lucky because if he got in there with the goanna, she would have torn him to pieces.”

Police questioned the boy but, because of his age, were unable to do anything: children under the age of 10 are not liable for criminal offences. However, the zoo is considering legal action against his parents.

Mr Neindorf said: “I thought for the sheer consequences of what he did that there would have to be some severe punishment, but they can’t do anything. We’re going to see what we can do - maybe try and sue the family in the civil court. We’ll look down that avenue.”

He said that the boy’s brother was part of a group that attacked Terry the crocodile about five years ago. Children often tried to throw rocks at the animal enclosures from a nearby hill, but this was by far the worst incident in the eight-year history of the zoo.

Mr Neindorf said: “We’re horrified that anyone could do this, and saddened by the age of the child. He will just get worse and worse and worse - by the time he’s 10 he will be a hardened criminal.”

The Alice Springs Reptile Centre has 200 animals on display, including perentie goannas, frill-necked lizards, pythons, taipans, death adders and, of course, Terry.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Territory police said that they had identified the boy from the CCTV footage. They had cautioned him and spoken to his mother about the incident

I just don't understand what would make a child want to kill all those animals, or anybody else for that matter. There are those who say that a child that young doesn't understand what he is doing. However, cruelty to animals can indicate a lack of empathy for others, and eventually, this child could start hurting humans while continuing to hurt animals too. The sociopath has no conscience. He cannot relate to the guilt most of us feel when we have done something hooribly wrong. 

The [security]footage shows the barefoot boy, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, climbing over the zoo's fence on Wednesday morning, evading sensor alarms possibly because of his size. He is seen throwing live lizards into the crocodile's enclosure, bashing others to death with a rock, and smashing a turtle the size of a dinner plate on a concrete pathway.

He then jumps into the goanna pit and is next seen dragging a dead goanna towards the crocodile pen, which is protected by two fences. The goanna's mate survived. The 13 animals killed were worth about $7,000 (£3,000).

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