Reviews evidence for the significance of childhood cruelty to animals as a predictor of later violence toward humans. Moves are underway in the United States (US) and Britain to encourage communication and cross-fertilisation between animal welfare and child protection and crime prevention services. Literature on healthy versus deviant child-pet interactions is reviewed, with particular regard to the prediction of later violence. Assessment and definitional issues are addressed. The discussion culminates with a summary of substantive findings and the identification of several research designs that are needed to clarify the potential of early identification and remediation of child cruelty to animals as a mental health promotion and violence prevention strategy.