North Sioux City, SD — In the study of psychology, there is a term for those who hurt animals for personal pleasure. It is called intentional animal torture and cruelty and even has its own acronym, IATC. Psychologists have long studied the reasons behind why a person would intentionally harm an animal and the types of people associated with this behavior are often society's worst. So, when a police officer — whose job is to ostensibly protect children at a school — starts exhibiting this behavior by trapping and killing cats by himself in a cemetery, it should raise red flags.
North Sioux City police officer Derek McIntosh, 34, was a school resource officer at Dakota Valley Elementary school. In his spare time, according to a recent affidavit, McIntosh would trap his neighbors' cats, lock them in cages, drive them to the cemetery, and kill them. He would allegedly do this in secret and an untold number of cats have fallen victim to his actions.
McIntosh is "no longer employed with the city," according to North Sioux City administrator Ted Cherry, although he would not say whether McIntosh was fired or resigned, the Argus Leader reports.
"Our police department has finished the investigation into the situation with the cats and we've turned all of it over to the Union County State's Attorney," Cherry said.
Somehow, other officers found out about McIntosh's disturbing behavior and so the department launched an investigation. When they visited the cemetery, police found the bodies of two dead cats, in a calculated killing, in which McIntosh allegedly used the rubber gloves from the police department to handle the cats during the act.
As the Argus Leader reports:
On May 8, North Sioux City Police Chief Richard Headid filed a report saying McIntosh told him he was investigating a stolen animal trap on Alcoma Drive. During the investigation, a resident asked McIntosh about his missing black-and-white cat, to which McIntosh replied that officers sometimes moved stray cats to the cemetery, according to the affidavit.
The next day, police Capt. Dustin Sharkey was heading to the same address to pick up a cat that was caught in a trap when another officer, Stephanie Ryan, told him that he "saved that cat's life," according to the affidavit. When asked what she meant, Ryan told Sharkey she had heard that McIntosh took trapped cats out to the cemetery to shoot them.
Later, another officer said he had discussed the cat situation on Alcoma Drive with McIntosh, who said he'd told the resident he released the cat to the cemetery, according to the affidavit. When the officer told McIntosh, "At least you didn't shoot it," McIntosh allegedly responded that he actually had killed the cat.
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While under investigation, McIntosh told officers that he "routinely released cats at the cemetery," according to the affidavit. When asked if he shot his neighbor's missing cat, McIntosh reportedly denied it. However, he admitted to shooting other cats in the past.
Once the department told McIntosh that he would be placed on leave, he then admitted to killing the cat.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Union County, McIntosh has since been charged with injuring or killing an animal belonging to another, a class 1 misdemeanor.
Hopefully, this officer is not allowed back on the streets—especially into the school where he once served as the resource officer.
What makes this case so disturbing is that according to Pshychology Today, many notorious serial killers – such as Jeffrey Dahmer – began by torturing and killing animals in their childhood. Dahmer also collected animal roadkill, dissected the remains, and masturbated over the animals he had cut up. Other killers known to have engaged in IATC include child murderer Mary Bell (who throttled pigeons), Jamie Bulger’s murderer Robert Thompson (who was cruel to household pets), and the infamous Moors murderer Ian Brady (who abused animals).
Hopefully, these charges stick and McIntosh is not allowed to continue his career which grants him above the law privileges and access to situations which serial killers would only dream of having.