To the editor:
The man accused of taping a puppy’s mouth shut until she suffocated shows classic behavior symptoms in need of psychological evaluation and treatment (“Bolder man suspected of killing puppy by taping its mouth shut,” Dec. 14). Anyone whose anger and lack of empathy could result in such a heartless act should be ordered to counseling, in addition to other punishment, to ensure that such violence is neither repeated nor escalated. It is not uncommon for people who lash out at animals to likewise harm human beings.
There is a program called AniCare, available to judges overseeing animal cruelty cases, which is specially designed to get to the root of abusive behavior. It is used nationwide, and as a psychologist with much experience in this subject, I think it is highly appropriate for use in this case, if Mr. Gookin is convicted. Whatever factors contributed to this terrible act must be properly assessed and addressed to help prevent future violence.
Kenneth Shapiro, PhD, ABPP
Animals & Society Institute, Ann Arbor MI