I wasn't sure where to place this since there isn't a Pets or Psychology forum, but this needs to be discussed.
This young killer, Shawn Novak, helped shape the person I am today. Being the animal lover that I am, I've never forgotten this monster and it's a joy
to see that others haven't either.
This week, a very disturbed boy's murders is now a triumph for pets and animals everywhere. His blood thirsty urges and the animals he tortured and
killed are now getting justice since the SPCA in Virginia Beach is now using his crimes as a base to start a new program. This program will focus on
children who are brought before the juvenile justice system because they have hurt animals.
The course will use pets from the society's shelter to teach empathy, accountability and proper animal care to juveniles convicted of lesser forms
of animal abuse, Adams said.
I'm sad to say that I sold Shawn Novak most of the animals he tortured and killed and this has haunted me ever since. I was 17 when Novak started
coming into the pet store I worked at to purchase small animals. About once a week, he'd buy a mouse, a hamster, or a gerbil. He'd always bring in the
original box from his first purchase. He was quiet and I just assumed that he was feeding a snake or lizard. Novak gave me a bad feeling in my gut, so
I never struck up a conversation with him or asked him what he was doing with the animals.
This went on for about six months until one day, I drove into the parking lot of the strip mall that the pet store was in and there were police
everywhere. There were woods behind the shopping center and they'd found two young boys murdered there. Shawn Novak was soon arrested.
Here is an article that was printed shortly after his arrest:
But Conover, and other neighborhood teens, also painted another portrait of Novak who, Conover said, once wore the head of slain bird on a
``He was kind of strange. He carried weird things,'' Conover said. She said Novak once carried around a sack of animal bones. ``He said it was cat
bones,'' Conover said.
After an intensive, exhaustive investigation, police arrested the First Colonial High School 10th-grader on Saturday, four days after the bodies of
Christopher Scot Weaver, 7, and Daniel Geier, 9, were found in a dense woods near their Wadsworth Homes apartments, a military housing complex, off
The boys' throats were slit, and their bodies found under leaves and branches, police said. Scot and Daniel were last seen riding their bicycles
around the Wadsworth Homes neighborhood about 24 hours earlier.
``He confided in me that he wanted kids of his own. He would play with the neighborhood children, wrestle with them on the lawn and then tell them
how strong they were,'' Conover said Sunday.
It was sometime last year that Conover recalls seeing Novak wearing a bird's head around his neck.
``He said he was a devil worshiper, too,'' Conover said.
I can't say that I was shocked to learn that he killed these boys, but I remember feeling sick to my stomach. It was disturbing to me that I'd gotten
this close to such a sick person and didn't know any the wiser. I felt terrible about the poor animals I sold him that were doomed from the moment I
placed them in the box he'd brought in.
Rumors flew about why he did this. I'd heard that he lured the boys into the woods while he was supposedly babysitting them by telling them that they
were playing Dungeons and Dragons. I'd heard that the boys had been tied to a tree and Novak slit their throats. I found it strange that the cops
focused on D&D instead of the fact that Novak was displaying serial killer tendencies with all the animal bones and dead things he'd reportedly wore
around his neck. I never sold him any birds or cats, but I suppose he could've caught stray cats and found injured or dead birds in the woods where
the boys were found. For those of you who remember the big storm that suddenly surrounded D&D and how people were saying that it was a dangerous game,
it's partly because of these murders, but I feel that the police used this game as a smoke screen. They should've been focusing on Novak's warped
desires to torture and kill animals, then keep the bones and body parts as trophies. All of the signs were there. How could he get away with this? His
friends reported seeing him with animal bones and animal parts, why didn't they come forward? Did his parent(s) not notice that their son had a
strange fascination with death? We know more now about the psychology of a murderer's mind nowadays, but the early 90s were no stranger to psychotic
killers and authorities knew then that serial killers do begin with animals before they move on to people. Novak is a strange case though because he
leaped from animals to humans so quickly and at such a young age.
After this terrible incident, I became much more weary of people. I developed a fascination with the psychology of murderers and serial killers. If
someone came in to purchase an animal, I scrutinized them more closely and started asking questions. In my college years, I was working at an aviary
for exotic birds and refused to sell to some people who gave me that bad vibe or they said something to raise a red flag with me.
I can't say that this experience and chance meeting shaped me for the worse. It actually made me more aware of those around me and helped teach me to
listen to that little voice in my head when I usually ignored it or wrote it off as nothing. Today, I have fine tuned that inner voice and always rely
on my gut instincts. If someone gives me a bad feeling, I don't question it and keep my distance from that person. If I have to interact with the
person, I keep my wits about me and watch closely for signs that may indicate that they may be dangerous. If enough flags are raised, I'd have no
problems reporting my suspicions. I'd rather be embarrassed for being wrong than feeling guilty for keeping quiet.
It's nice to see that something good is coming from the senseless murders of two boys and a bunch of animals -- even if it is twenty years later.
Hopefully, these kids can be changed and develop empathy for living creatures. Then again, we're left to wonder if some people are born without having
the ability to feel another's pain. There's also the fact that some people are so abused that they become desensitized to the pain they inflict upon
others. Hopefully, these disturbed individuals can be helped and the animals used in this program can heal whatever is broken within them.
Here is how the program will work:
The new SPCA program would provide that treatment, starting with an evaluation to determine why the abuse occurred and whether it's safe for the
child to interact with animals, Adams said. Eligible children would then participate in supervised activities, such as grooming and training dogs
In closing, if you know someone is harming and/or torturing animals, please speak up. You just may save a life.
Thanks to the SPCA for starting this important program and using one person's heinous acts as a foundation to help others.
edit on 1-12-2012 by Afterthought because: (no reason given)