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The Other Criminalities of Animal Freeze-Killers: Support for a Generality of Deviance

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This research analyzes the overall arrest histories of persons aged 18-34 convicted for weapon-related deer spotlighting in Virginia during 1997 and 1998. Deer spotlighting, or "freeze-killing," is a specific form of deer poaching involving shining a deer with a spotlight for an easier kill. Defined as unsporting, freeze-killing constitutes animal abuse. This study isolated and compared arrest rates of white males - 90% of the sample in the present research - with estimated rates of a cross-sectional national sample of the same race-sex-age combinations. Results showed that about two in five freeze killers had been arrested, more than one in five for a crime of violence. Freeze-killers had almost twice the rate for violent crime and almost three times the rate for property crime as the control group - after accounting for age and for the time at risk of arrest. The findings' direction is consistent with the recent literature and a "generality of deviance" approach, and support an earlier call to expand hypotheses about animal abuse to include other criminal correlates in addition to violence.


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