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My grand-daughter strangled her pet dove, what should we do?

Q: Our daughter just dropped our 4-year-old grand-daughter saying she could not take her home. Our daughter raises doves. Four days ago they got a Minx kitten. The grand daughter strangled the kitten 2 days ago. After she dropped the child, we found that she also strangled a baby dove a week and a half ago. I asked the child why she did it, and she replied that it was just sitting there. I asked her if she realised her mistake and she said that she did. We have 3 miniature dachshunds and I caught her with her hands around one of the dog's throat. I asked her what she was doing and she said that she was just patting the dog. But I don't think so. What should we do with this child?

A:From a simple reading of the situation, I think the 4 year old girl feels something like sibling rivalry for all the little animals being brought up in the two homes. It seems to me that the child is craving for the attention of her mother and grandmother and finds that the animals are in the way. Her hatred for the animals will not fall in the category of cruelty to animals. You may have to find ways of engaging the little girl in activities of her choice and also assure her that you do love her. Under the circumstances, provision for day care, where there are other children her age, may be a good alternative. If you think you need to, do talk to a Psychologist or Counsellor for further advice, but do not treat the child as a killer of animals. She needs to play with toys and have stories read to her. So if you could put her wellbeing and happiness on priority, the problem may get solved.

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