In A Brother's Price, Keifer Porter does a lot of unmotivated violence in the backstory. Among other things, he told his wives' little cousin that eating too many cookies would make his "you know what" fall off. And no, he was not talking about teeth. He also beat up and raped one of his child-wives because she criticised him, which may or may not qualify, depending on whether one counts the fact that Trini might have been discouraged from opposing him a second time as net gain. His only redeeming action, if one may call it that, was demanding that Ren be sent out of the opera house because her crying at a sad scene in the opera annoyed him. Would also be dog-kicking, if not for the fact that the building exploded minutes later, and Ren survived because she was outside. Most probably that was not his intention, though.
Lampshaded and subverted with Garranon in Dragon Bones. When he expresses his intent to force seemingly dumb, Gentle Giant Ward into an asylum for insane (or unwanted) nobles, Ward's uncle asks whether he also "tortures puppies". Garranon says that yes, in order to protect his brother, he would do so. Not really dog-kicking, as he has a reason for what he's doing - he wants to get a slave back whom his younger brother bought from a person who didn't actually own her. Or so he believes. Played straight with his younger brother Landislaw, who does attack Ward for no good reason.
There's also Ward's father, who is not only abusive towards his wife and children, but also mistreats his horse. That's how we know that we don't have to be sorry when he dies, by being thrown by said horse.
In Albert Camus's The Stranger, Mr. Meursault's neighbor, old man Salamano, is known for habitually beating and cursing his equally old dog. But later on this leads to Even Evil Has Loved Ones. After the old man loses his dog while at the fair, he shares his fear with Meursault that he may never see it again. Soon after saying goodnight and closing the door to his apartment, Meursault hears through a wall Salamano weeping.
In Robert Harris's Fatherland, when we first meet the Gestapo, one officer's first act is to shoot a dog in the face. Yeah, they're evil.
Dear god, The fate of perhaps the one and only half decent character Mr. Fish, in Hell's Children by Andrew Boland, at the Hands of the protagonist's. And then theirs Acheri’s childhood, which is not work safe, by a long shot.
In Chung Kuo, deVore blows up the dog with explosives in an infamous scene. Apparently this is to make it clear that even though he is one of the rebels, he is to be seen as a villain
In the original book version of The Dead Zone, the first sign we have that Stillson is evil under his affable exterior is when, after making sure the owners of a particularly annoying dog aren't home, he teargasses it and kicks it to death.
Another Stephen King example: in The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands Gasher not only kidnaps Jake and takes him on a journey during which he threatens and beats him so much it's virtually all one long Kick the Dog moment, but he starts the journey by instructing him to throw Oy, his newfound pet Billy-Bumbler, off a suspension bridge, and then he takes a kick at Oy as he runs away. Needless to say, he gets his Karmic Death as it's Oy that leads Roland to the lair of Gasher and his buddies.
And another: in The Green Mile, Percy Wetmore gets two — first stomping Mr. Jingles, Eduard Delacroix's pet mouse, which was done just to be a sadistic asshole, and his deliberate sabotage of Del's execution (resulting in a truly Cruel and Unusual Death for Del) in revenge for Del laughing at Percy pissing himself in fear because of Wharton, with Percy capping it off with a cruel taunt to Del on the chair about how "there is no Mouseville" directly before said execution instead of simply letting him die happy.
In Apt Pupil (from Different Seasons), Todd Bowden squashes an injured blue jay with his bike tire...and proceeds to go back and forth over its corpse for no reason whatsoever.
In It, Henry Bowers feeds the dog of a kid he hates a steak he has rubbed ground glass into.
In In Cold Blood. At one point Dick deliberately runs over a stray dog with his car. His comment to Perry is "Boy! We sure splattered him!"
In the Discworld novel Small Gods, High Exquisitor Vorbis harpoons a porpoise. Not only does he intend this as a slight against what he regards as a harmless superstition, but if there was any doubt of his evil, it is gone.
It's worse than that — he forces the ship's captain to do the harpooning. The captain knows better than to say no to the Exquisitor when challenged to prove he harbors no heretical superstitions, e.g., that the souls of sailors are reincarnated as porpoises.
Earlier in the book, Vorbis turns a tortoise on its back and props it with pebbles to ensure that it cannot right itself. The tortoise is a protagonist, but Vorbis doesn't know this at the time; he just wants to see how a tortoise dies.
And later, when considering if Vorbis might have made a better Chosen One than Brutha, Om comes to the chilling realisation that if Vorbis had known the tortoise was the god to whom he had supposedly dedicated his life, he'd probably have done it anyway.
In Hogfather, Mr. Teatime kills a dog by nailing it to the ceiling. This isn't even because he was trying to be cruel; he simply didn't want it to bark while he was working. Which just shows that he's evil andcrazy.
In Witches Abroad, Lilith de TempscireLily Weatherwax, Granny Weatherwax's sister turning some drunk coach drivers into beetles and crushing them. Might qualify as crossing the Moral Event Horizon, given the dog had probably been kicked fairly severely by this point. The scary part is, she thinks she's the good one.
In Making Money, Amesbury the chef doesn't like Cosmo Lavish because he once kicked Mr. Fusspot, his stepmother's funny-looking little dog who Amesbury is in charge of feeding. Of course, you kind of knew Cosmo Lavish was a horrible person even before Amesbury says that, but it lets Moist know that Amesbury is trustworthy and won't let people hurt the dog.
In Night Watch, after Lord Snapcase succeeds Lord Winder as patrician, he agrees to a general amnesty for the rebels, as it will make the transition to his rule go more smoothly. However, despite this he orders John Keel assassinated, since even though they are not enemies he finds Keel's competence as a leader intimidating, and doesn't want him to become a threat at a later date. The civic leaders present, who are the one who masterminded Winder's death, find this disgusting (even the assassin).
Tiffany(to the Cunning Man): "But you convinced a man to kill his canary, and somehow I think that was the worst crime of them all."
In Journey to the River Sea Miss Minton explains that she doesn't have an umbrella, as she broke it on the back of some naughty boy. Asked what the boy did to deserve it, she says that the boy tried to push a puppy through a wire mesh fence. The protagonist immediately ask if he was okay - the dog, she doesn't care for the wellbeing of the boy after being told that. (The puppy survived, but lost an eye)
Visser Three in the first book as well. Killing Elfangor wasn't enough, he had to eat him alive.
Once Rachel casts off the facade of normalcy and becomes a full-on Sociopathic Soldier in the last books she gets her share of these. Executing a fleeing Yeerk soldier in cold blood, almost punching Cassie, threatening to kill Ax, and almost committing vehicular homicide on the mild-mannered Captain Olston are just a few that come to mind.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, as if there weren't enough evidence that Joffrey Baratheon is a psychopath, other characters relate an incident where he cuts open a pregnant cat. While his very young age at the time, and the circumstances around the incident, might suggest that he might not have fully understood what he was doing, the sadistic streak that becomes so obvious later undermines this more sympathetic interpretation.
There's also Viserys Targaryen, who actually has a dog kicking moment in every scene he appears in in A Game of Thrones.
Gregor Clegane raping the daughter of an innkeeper and murdering the innkeeper's son for no reason.
Cersei Lannister is less "Kick the Dog" and more "Execute the Direwolf". Not the direwolf that actually did anything, just the one who happened to be convenient at the time.
Catelyn Stark has a kick the dog moment when Jon Snow comes to visit a comatose Bran following his fall from a tower, and Catelyn says to Jon "It should have been you."
Sansa Stark has some dog-kicking in relation to her sister, because even though Arya normally gives as good as she gets when it comes to The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry, there are times when Arya is genuinely trying to apologise or comfort Sansa, only to get it thrown in her face for no other reason than bitchy spitefulness. There is also the fact that after Ned is executed and her world falls apart, Sansa barely even remembers Arya's existence, let alone trying to think of a way to help.
Ruthless killing and casual violence is par for the course in this series, so you know that Ramsay and Roose Bolton are exceptionally bad because of their habit of flaying people.
Euron Greyjoy raped his brother Victarion's wife, raped his youngest brother Aeron, murdered his brother Balon, and now seeks to kill Victarion and take over the kingdom.
Victarion Greyjoy frees a ship of sex slaves, only to make them his own sex slaves and murders several people for no real reason throughout the course of ONE chapter.
Ramsay Snow spends most of his time torturing Theon Greyjoy, both physical and psychological to the point he is but an empty shell of who he was. He also enjoys hunting women by siccing his dogs on them.
In The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks, the Archimandrite Luseferous primarily stays off-stage kicking the dog repeatedly, acting as a horrible encroaching threat we know is ready and able to bring if not thwarted...yet never meeting the protagonists or directly interacting with the main plot. In one scene he uses the undying severed head of an enemy as a punch-ball.
A girl and her pregnant dog go too close to an evil place, and end up having to spend the night there (I think she got knocked out); the evil goes into the dog, destroys it and the babies, and emerges in the form of a horrible fleshless sort of puppy that the hero later has to defeat.
A boy in high school finds out that the girl he was betrothed to as a child is coming to see him. He scoffs at the custom, since he has a girlfriend and all. His fiancée takes it a little more seriously. She can control little shapeless monsters who eat things, and has already murdered at least two people and a dog (it barked at her, so she poisoned it to feed her new pets). Then, to frighten her fiancé's girlfriend into staying away, she kills the girlfriend's dog.
There's a series in which... demons? vampire spirits?... take over bodies shortly after death. One little boy dies and gets possessed this way, and his mother can't bring herself to destroy him, so she hides him. Brings him animals to kill and eat. However, despite the numerous pets who go missing and the eviscerated corpses that show up all over the place, the fact that he's killing animals and not people works against Kick the Dog, seeing as (a) the boy lives, (b) he's victim more than villain, and (c) the killing of pets was the lesser of two evils.
Pet standards differ by culture. Whatever is the pet norm is the one thing you would never even consider eating. For Americans, it's dogs and cats. For those in India, it's cows. We have no problem eating beef, and we joke about how Asians might serve dogs and cats in restaurants (There's a Cat in the Kettle at the Peking Moon). Some people eat horseflesh... and right now there's some little kid out there realizing that their breakfast sausage was made from Wilbur.
And Finns eat reindeer. Goodbye, Rudolph! We hardly knew you!
Standards also change with the times, notably before spaying and neutering became the norm. In Emily of New Moon, Emily is on vacation when she receives a letter saying her cat has had kittens. She matter-of-factly hopes she'll get to see them before they're drowned; her relatives only spare one. On the other hand, there are actual Kick the Dog moments in the book, when we learn that Teddy's pathologically jealous mother has drowned and poisoned various cats because she thought he loved them more than her.
In the prequels to Belgariad, Zedar does get a fair range of dog kicking moments, including offering immortality to a queen for the murder of the King of Riva and his family, before letting her down as the whole army of three countries-and-a-half comes to avenge him.
The series also contains an example of a literal dog-kicking, although it is only distantly heard by the characters as an abruptly silenced barking followed by a yelp. It's also revealed that Taur Urgas's favoured son and crown prince, as a child, amused himself by dropping live puppies in boiling water.
When the heroes hear the above dog kicking in town one of them says that kicking a dog to make it be quiet is horrible and he would like to go in and see how that person liked it.
"I don't have much use for a man who kicks his own dog."
This trope goes back to Victorian times, where in Oliver Twist Dickens had one of the two main villains (Bill Sikes) repeatedly kick his dog on numerous occasions. The dog even went down with Sikes when he accidentally killed himself.
In the Roman Polanski film adaption, the dog lives, though Bill attempted to drown it because it was mentioned on his wanted poster.
In the musical adaptation Oliver!, Bill tries to kill it, but it not only runs away, it leads the chase right to him.
Another famous Dickens example: "If they'd rather die then they'd better do it! And decrease the surplus population!" (A Christmas Carol)
In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, one of our first glimpses of Mr. Drawlight is a flashback to when he threw someone else's cat out a third-story window because he feared it would shed on his clothing.
Also, Mr. Norrell himself, when he mentions that he doesn't care whether Lady Pole lives or dies, only what her husband thinks of him.
Amazingly, Thomas Harris' most horrific scene does not occur in any of the Hannibal Lecter books, but in Black Sunday. As if Harris believed the reader needed further convincing this far in of just how nuts the pilot was, we get a scene in which the pilot brings a kitten to his wife as a gift, then gruesomely kills it via kitchen garbage disposal when they quarrel.
Pulp villains often indulged in this. One of The Spider's villains actually gave a puppy the plague and then hit it with a stick for good measure.
It was this reader's feeling that the novel Children of Menhas its Villain with Good Publicity do several such moments within the last chapter, (with the implication that he's done more like them) simply to avoid any Moral Dissonance for the heroes, or risk them not having an adequate excuse to get him out of there when they'll try and build a better world.
This is the characterization of the Harkonnens in Dune.
The arrogant landowner Mr. Hazell kicks the old doctor's dog in Danny, the Champion of the World, simply because he's in the way. So the doctor selects an extra-blunt needle for the man's injection.
The easiest way to figure out who the villain is in the Honor Harrington books is to see who has the most misogynistic internal monologue, with frequent use of phrases such as "that bitch" or "putting her in her place."
This only applies to domestic villains, and not all of them. Increasingly in the later books, the use of "cargo" or similar for manpower slaves serves much the same function.
Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights has Heathcliff actually hang his future wife Isabella's puppy.
Right in front of her. Then he tells her he'd like to destroy anything and everything she loves. She marries him anyway.
The Star Wars Expanded Universe book Dark Apprentice has a fairly obvious kick the dog moment when Admiral Daala orders her commanders to level an unarmed colony on Dantooine. This despite Daala stating that the planet "is too remote for an effective demonstration." The obviousness of this trope is made evident when she subsequently observes that she wouldn't "have another opportunity to catch the New Republic so unprepared." So why waste the opportunity on a ridiculous, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-target? To show just how cold, evil, and tactically inept she is.
In the same trilogy, Moruth Doole is shown to have a slave harem where he essentially rapes female Rybets, and then uses the offspring as slave laborers in his mining operation. If that doesn't make him evil enough for a Karmic Death, then he is also guilty of having the offspring murdered when they get large enough to challenge him.
In the X-Wing Series, Flirry Vorru gets a moment that is simultaneously this and Kick the Son of a Bitch. He was an Imperial Moff who got sent to Kessel for massive corruption; typically he's urbane and civilized, but when he "disciplines" an unlikeable lesser criminal who had recently been gut-shot, the Rebels he's working with make a note on how quickly his mood changes.
Vorru's right hand struck fast and slapped Thyne on the belly. The younger man howled, then, as he doubled over, Vorru grabbed him by the neck and slammed his forehead into the table. Thyne, glassy-eyed, rebounded and Vorru flung him from his chair. "For some people, discipline is a lesson. For others it is a lifetime."
Kirtan Loor also does this, as when Corran had finally caught Bossk, the bounty hunter responsible for murdering his father, he had Bossk released under the pretext of "collateral damage", and it's outright stated to the reader that he did this purely out of spite.
In Dark Force Rising Grand Admiral Thrawn abuses Mara Jade's trust pretty ruthlessly, following her to Talon Karrde's hideout and kidnappping him off to the Chimaera for... questioning. What's worse is he does it in a fashion that makes all of Mara's erstwhile smuggler friends believe that she had been working for Thrawn the entire time. This incident is what convinces Mara to begin her Heel–Face Turn.
We've already learnt, in his introductory description, that he limps because he spent so much of his youth kicking puppies and kittens that one leg outgrew the other.
Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games starts off with a man taking revenge on his adulterous wife by tossing her cute little puppy out the window.
Eeluk in Wolf of the Plains declares himself the new khan of the wolves and exiles Temujin's family, taking their ger, ponies, and all their possessions to force them to die on the steppes, then kills the clan bard for the crime of protesting this was evil. Just to make things worse, he does this during Yesugei's funeral.
In the novel American Psycho, insane serial killer Patrick Bateman kills a dog (along with his owner), and casually mentions tormenting a puppy to death. When at the zoo, he throws coins to the seals, just because he saw a table asking people not to do so.
In One Shot, by Lee Child, Jack Reacher is helping investigate a shooting spree. A police officer mentions that after arresting the suspect, they sent the dog to the pound and it was put to sleep. Reacher says, "That's cold... the damn dog didn't do anything wrong." Reacher is a giant of a man who kills several people with his bare hands in the series.
The midpoint of The Player of Games sees main character Jernau Gurgeh unmotivated and on the edge of a Heroic B.S.O.D. due to the culture clash he's experiencing: to the Azadians, Azad is the epitome of Serious Business, involving life-and-death stakes, while to Gurgeh it's nothing more than an interesting game. Since Gurgeh quitting the Azad tournament is not in accordance with Special Circumstances' plans, his Handler takes him on a quick tour of the city that amounts to a kick the dog moment for the entire Empire of Azad. The result is exactly what SC wanted.
In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the very first time Hyde is described, he is seen by the narrator walking down a street and running into and trampling a girl without so much as breaking stride. Fits the trope even more appropriately because for Hyde, there was no real hostile intent behind the action: she just happened to be in his way while he was walking.
In The Knife of Never Letting Go it practically becomes a running theme that any villain in the book will hurt the main character's pet dog. First one man cuts half of his tail off while trying to kill his master, another kicks him in the face so hard that it injures his eye and breaks some of his teeth, and ultimately the Big Bad kills him by snapping his neck.
In order to ensure that we don't sympathise too much with Alaric from the Warhammer 40,000Grey Knights novels, who is otherwise a "pure white" hero, he spouts stolid Knight Templar dogmatisms from time to time, such as threatening a techpriest with death for admiring some advanced technology unavailable to the Imperium.
American Gods contains a scene in which Wednesday taunts and shortchanges a random waitress. Shadow, feeling sympathetic, makes sure she gets the correct amount. Any sympathy for the girl is lost moments later, when Wednesday reveals the girl's many horrible little deeds — among them, when she was little, locking a kitten in a closet for days, listening to it mew, and then burying it outside, for no reason other than that she wanted to bury something.
Mary Crawford of Mansfield Park finally opens her suitor Edmund's eyes to her true character when she stealthily wishes in a letter to the heroine for Edmund's ill older brother to die, which would make Edmund, as the next heir of his father's wealth and title, rich enough for her to consider marrying. Now if only more readers could come to the same conclusion...
In Moonraker (the novel, not the movie), an otherwise tense car chase between Bond and Hugo Drax is interrupted by a third car, whose driver taunts Bond as he passes him. Bond laughs it off, but as the third car tries to pass Drax, Drax drives it off the road.
Goldfinger Auric Goldfinger:" Do you like cats, Mr. Bond?" He then feeds the animal to his henchman.
Anthony Horowitz may possibly have been making fun of this trope in one of his Diamond Brothers stories. A man who ran a charity for children was run over and crushed flat by a steamroller. Nick and Tim Diamond, in the course of their investigation into this matter, go to question the man who was driving the steamroller at the time, who has been treated extensively for shock and has only recently recovered enough to speak. Against the advice of the doctor at the hospital where he is being kept for treatment, though, Tim proceeds to slip in all sorts of remarks that traumatize the driver all over again—including "Would you like a Coke with crushed ice?" "It's time we got to the crunch" and "Can we run over a couple things." This culminates in the driver jumping out of a closed window and running away screaming. This has no significance to the plot whatsoever; so either it was a kick the dog moment for Tim, or we were just getting to see, yet again, how idiotic he really is.
Codex Alera wastes no time in letting us know that High Lord Kalarus is a bit of a dick. He uses his first scene to threaten Isana, make sexist comments, and smack and verbally abuse the innocent and cute slave courtesan Serai. He also sent assassins against Isana and tried to kill Tavi and Max for making his son Brencis (who was himself introduced torturing the most harmless-looking Academs he could find) look weak. And he hits Brencis too for losing to them. This makes for a lovely lead-up to his bounding leap over the Moral Event Horizon revealed in the third book.
A children's book titled No Biting tells the reader on each page what they must not do and what they can do instead. One page instructs the young reader that they must never kick a dog. They may, however, kick a ball.
In David Copperfield, James Steerforth gets two very noticeable Kick the Dog moments. First, when as a 14-years-old he insults Mr. Mell for trying to do his work and helps Mr. Creakle get him fired. Years later, he seduces David's childhood friend Emily when she's about to get married to her stepbrother Cam and they run away. And later we find out that he abuses her during the time they're together.
In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, we have all-around winner Lord Richars, who drowns his twelve year-old cousin Donna's puppy after she fights off his rape attempt. Many years later, when she has a sex-change operation (going from from Donna to Dono) and challenges his claim to her/his late brother's title, he tries to have Dono castrated. In the back of a van, without anesthetic.
Agnes Grey: Reverend Hatfield kicks Nancy's cat and Agnes's dog; he's actually a vain, selfish Hypocrite better at scaring people than bringing them to the Lord. His curate Mr. Weston is kind to both animals and rescues them at some point; he's Agnes's proverbial Prince Charming. The significance of this contrast between the two does not escape the heroine's notice.
Unravel Me, Warner inverts this trope by : feeding a dog while, unbeknownst to him, Juliette is watching. This proves that he is actually a good person, because he did not do it for show and it goes against all of his evil acts so far.
Deerskin: When the evil king is about to rape his daughter, Lissar's loyal sighthound Ash jumps to the princess's defense. The king flings the dog against the wall hard enough to knock her unconscious.
In Jo Clayton's Moongather, the Noris uses Serroi (then about ten) as a conduit by which to suck the life force out of various animals and transform them into demons. The doomed menagerie includes a litter of puppies.
Javert in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables gets a Kick the Dog moment when he taunts Fantine in her dying moments. Tellingly, the adapters of the musical, who needed the audience not to write the character off as a monster (at least, not quite that early in the show), have him arrive on the scene after Fantine has already died.
Done in Eclipse by the Volturi to the newborn vampire Bree Tanner. Despite her being able to control herself, surrendering, and not knowing the laws of vampires, the Volturi kill her even after the Cullens had volunteered to take her in.
In R. A. Salvatore's The Crystal Shard, Akar Kessel comes close to doing this, except it's a cat and he tries to kill it with a magic spell (for practice) instead of kicking it. Animal lovers have nothing to worry about, since at that time he's pretty hopeless when it comes to spellcasting.
In Harry Potter, Rita Skeeter does this so much in the first book she appears in that she is probably one of the most hated characters in the series. She embellishes a story about how Harry feels about being in the Triwizard Tournament (it's established from the start that she puts words in peoples' mouths and has nothing nice to say about anyone but herself) and once called Albus. Freaking. Dumbledore. an "obsolete dingbat". She also wrote a scathing article about Hermione being a gold digger because Hermione had the guts to criticize her, then wrote an article about Harry apparently going crazy or just being an Attention Whore due to his scar hurting more and more lately. She also revealed Hagrid's half-giant heritage to all of the UK, using people like the Malfoys as quote sources. She gets hers at the end, though, with Hermione holding the information that she's an unregistered Animagus (being unregistered is illegal and violators are subject to a few years in Azkaban) over her head, making her quit the Daily Prophet and stop writing nasty stories. In book 5 she actually does some good, though, getting the truth out about Voldemort through The Quibbler since the Prophet can't be trusted due to the Ministry attempting to discredit Harry and Dumbledore at every turn.
Also, any time Snape is mean to Neville. Sure, Snape is also unreasonably cruel to Harry, Ron, and Hermione in and out of class, but they seem better equipped to handle it than Neville does.
Umbridge seems to love to do this, like forcing Harry to carve the words I must not tell lies into his flesh and falsely accuse Muggles of "stealing" magic.
And in Order of the Phoenix, thanks to Umbridge's influence, the Slytherins try kicking as many dogs as possible. Things include Malfoy insulting Molly Weasley and the late Lily Potter after his Quidditch team lost, Malfoy and his gang laughing at Harry after getting attacked by a bowtruckle just to see his reaction, and creating the song Weasley Is Our King.
Averted, however, by Lord Voldemort of all people, in the seventh book. While on his way to the Potters' in a flashback, he sees a small child, contemplates murdering it, and then just walks on by.
In Valley of the Dry Bones, a dystopian novel set in 2016 America, we know that society is really going downhill when the book casually mentions parties where the entertainment includes torture-and-snuff child porn. This takes place several pages after comments by law enforcement about the curious recent increase in missing children.
In Eclipse of the Sun, Maurice coerces Fr. Andrei into looking at pornography — by threatening to drag a real woman in and rape her if he refuses.
In the same book, Maurice gives Fr. Andrei the Sadistic Choice of publicly denouncing his religion or watching three depraved men rape eight-year-old orphan Arrow into insanity.
In Count Smokrev's back-story in Father Elijah, as a child, his playmate rejected a sexual advance. In response, Smokrev killed the boy's pet rabbit, right in front of him.
Cree Bega of The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara specialises in Kick The Woobie. He forces Elven Prince Ahren Elessedil to watch while The Morgawr devours the minds of a ship's crew, and later, during their final battle, smugly informs Ahren of his crush's torture and suicide, then taunts him for being unable to save her. There is no reason for Cree Bega to do any of this, it doesn't serve to advance The Morgawr's plans or his own; no he just likes to hurt people.
Lolli in Valiant kicks her cat under a train when she gets sick of it's mewing.
Pierre Brossard, the Villain Protagonist in The Statement by Brian Moore, kicks the dog he bought his ex-wife years before in order to force his way back into her affections. By that time though he's already established as a sociopathic Manipulative Bastard.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo is implied to have destroyed before ships with civilians and military crew, but the act of following with the Nautilus the horrible death of all the unnamed ship’s crew on purpose, without losing any detail, is when Nemo reveals his true villainy.
Captain Nemo Kicks the Cachalots in a terrible massacre:
The sea was covered with mutilated bodies. A formidable explosion could not have divided and torn this fleshy mass with more violence. We were floating amid gigantic bodies, bluish on the back and white underneath, covered with enormous protuberances. Some terrified cachalots were flying towards the horizon. The waves were dyed red for several miles, and the Nautilus floated in a sea of blood...
In Black Magic Woman, Walter Grobius, upon hearing that his evil plan was completely thwarted, in anger, requests that a servant buy him a dog so he can kick it to death.
The miller in Krabat mistreats the boys. Not all the time, but if he does, he gets mean.
In Death series: Some of the murderers, being Ax-Crazy, Smug Snake, or some combination thereof, have engaged in this. This just makes their comeuppance all the more worthwhile.
The title witches of Roald Dahl's The Witches are singularly nasty, what with their scheme to turn little children into mice, but when one of them expresses her reservation about getting rid of all of them, the Grand High Witch disposes of her in nightmarish fashion for daring to say that she is wrong, incinerating her alive with magic.
Edith Wharton's terrible story Kerfol tells of a man who suspected his wife of infidelity because she'd given her little dog's collar (a present from him) to a friend. He proceeds to kill the dog, and to kill any dogs she adopts or even shows the slightest kindness to. She begs her friend to take her away, or help her some way, as she fears for her own life. When hubby is found dead later, the friend is put on trial for murder, and the wife testifies that on that night she'd heard barking and howling she would recognize anywhere.
When Thrope's house burns down in the Knight and Rogue Series Michael suggests that someone may have set it on fire as revenge for Thrope kicking their dog. He does try to hurt a dog and a young boy in his first appearance, but it has nothing to do with why he was targeted.
Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess will casually kill anyone who stands in the way of her attaining power, even her own family members.
A Clockwork Orange: Among their other amusements, Alex and his droogs like to run over animals with the cars they steal.
Squire Hardman in "Sweet Ermengarde" by H.P. Lovecraft kicks an "unquestionably innocent" cat while twirling his moustache. The story is a send-up of hack romance stories, so Squire Hardman is pretty much every Obviously Evil villain cliche.
In Galaxy of Fear, Captain Thrawn is generally not as evil-seeming as any of the other Imperials in the series, more of a Noble Demon than most of them. But when he and the Arrandas are fleeing The Swarm and he gets up the ramp to a ship first, he keys it to start closing. They pick up the pace and get on board on time, then demand to know why he did that, and he says it was a tactical decision and he hadn't wanted the swarm on board. Of course, it could be argued that he knew they'd go faster if they saw the ramp closing...
In Atlanta Nights, Bruce's mother is at one point casually described as setting Bruce's dog on fire.
You can tell that someone in the Chalet School series is a true dogkicker when they do something to hurt Joey's Morality Pet, the Robin. For example, Betty Wynne-Davies takes a snarky comment from Fiona McDonald very badly in The Highland Twins at the Chalet School and resolves to get back at her by selling the school out to the Nazis. As the twins are living with Joey at the time, and the Robin is Joey's ward, anything that hurts the McDonald sisters will hurt her and Daisy Venables too. Betty knows this, but doesn't care.
In Oliver Twist, Bill Sikes seems likable, if rough, at first. Then when we see him alone, he does kick a dog, and we know he's not only a villain but a cunning one.
In Victoria Forester's The Girl Who Could Fly, when Sally Sue tells Piper what her mother says about Piper, Piper retorts that her mother kicks dogs, she saw her doing it once. This frightens off Sally Sue, because she's never seen Piper and wants to know how she knows.
In White as Snow, Arpazia rejects her eight-year-old daughter Coira's declaration of love.
In Somerset Maugham's novel The Magician the villainous wizard Oliver Haddo (modeled on Aleister Crowley, who wrote a review of the book when it came out) kicks the heroine's dog and immediately gets a thrashing from her fiancé — which begins a deadly feud between them.
At least half of The Twits consists of this trope.
In Dave Barry Slept Here, Spiro Agnew, while no reporters are paying attention, decides to retire from being Vice President to take up clubbing baby seals.
In the Rainbow Magic series, this happens every time Jack Frost kidnaps or tries to harm an animal.
In the movie, he gives a speech about his snowman army saying that they're mindless soldiers who can be indefinitely replaced. He also fires his goblins despite the fact that they were useful to him.
Simona Ahrnstedt quickly shows us how creepy the villains of her debut novel Överenskommelser are. Even if we disregard what they do to the two protagonists from this trope, as we can see those deeds as important to the overall plot, we also get to see two of the villains (Edvard and Rosenschiöld) repeatedly abuse women while having sex with them.
But we also have the moment, where Rosenschiöld cuts off Beatrice's hair after raping and battering her. That was a pointless act of evil, that he only did to further humiliate her.
Clear Sky in Warrior Cats does a couple of these in Thunder Rising. He bullies Jagged Peak when he was suffering from self-esteem problems, embarrasses one of his cats to make Thunder look good, beats up Nightheart's brother when he was already defeated, sends Frost out to die even though he can still hunt, and throws his own son into the path of an attacking fox.
Tigerstar did plenty of this with Ravenpaw and other while in ThunderClan, but things take a turn for the worse when he makes the Bonehill.
Terror from Survivors literally beat up a smaller dog who tries speaking with him. Even Lucky wonders what kind of alpha mauled their own packmates.
The original novel of Jaws has a subplot involving the town mayor being in hock to the Mafia over a real estate deal. After Chief Brody orders the beaches closed following another shark attack, one of the Mob mooks tries to intimidate him by twisting his pet cat's neck right in front of one of Brody's kids.
Walter Jon Williams' The Fourth Wall is narrated by Sean Makin, a down on his luck d-list Former Child Star whose friends are mostly other child stars - one of whom had a literal Kick the Dog moment that Sean witnessed. He has no illusions about such moments:
Kicking a dog is worse than cheating on half a dozen spouses, worse than committing a dozen hit-and-runs. Worse than invading a foreign country.
Mrs.Bagg-Meanly from "TheBelfryWitches, written by Kate Saunders, is a very evil woman. Let's just count a few of the things she did:
She was first introduced when the vicar, Mr.Snelling, mentions that she threw the curate, Mr.Babbercorn, down the stairs, and indicates that this has happened more than once.
She keeps all of the food in their house locked up, eating most of it herself and only giving the vicar and curate, who unfortunately live with her, a measly sample every day.
It should also be mentioned that her treatment of Mr.Babbercorn is considerably worse than her treatment of Mr.Snelling.
She Takes the best bedroom, giving Mr.Snelling a much less favourable one and making Mr.Babbercorn sleep in the attic.
SHE ASSAULTS A POLICE OFFICER AND GETS AWAY WITH IT!
In fact, Kate Saunders even states that Mrs.Bagg-Meanly is possibly even worse that Mrs.Abercrombie, who is actually the main villain for the entire trilogy.
The protagonist of Pär Lagerkvist's The Dwarf doesn't like playing with Angelica, the Prince's young daughter. Seeing that she dotes on a kitten, he sneaks into her room while she's sleeping and decapitates it.
The Surgeon in the Ahriman Trilogy is a horrifying example. He doesn't seem to really hate animals, he just sees them as raw materials.
Wasp: Sagramatholou's first on-page action is to beat up an old man and kick him while he's down. This grants him Asshole Victim status once he dies by Mowry's hand.
Several instances with Eric in Divergent - putting Christina in the chasm for 5 minutes, preparing to throw knives at Al's head and trying to shoot a mindless, defenceless Four to state his jealousy come to mind.
Frank Merriwell's School Days (the first of the Frank Merriwell books): Barton Hughes kicks a dog in the second sentence of the book to establish that he's no good. Frank demonstrates his own good character by protesting. Bart follows up by pushing a crippled boy (the dog's owner) to the ground for being in the way.
In The King's Deryni, when Bishop Oliver deNore sees young Alaric Morgan has been touching his horse (the boy calmed the animal for a short journey by sea), he orders the animal slaughtered and summons a butcher to see the deed done on the spot. The bishop arrogantly points out the horse is his property, suggests he's motivated by a desire to feed the poor, and refuses all offers to purchase the horse. While deNore nurtures a particular grudge aginst Alaric due to the role the boy's mother played in the conviction and execution of his brother, he is also well-known for persecuting Deryni generally. His promotion to Archbishop of Valoret is looked upon with dread by Alaric and others
Marian from MARZENA just love kicking the dog. If she's not beating up or flaying MLK, she'll be playing mind games with poor Shrinking Violet Lauren, spoofing her holo contact lenses with graphical glitches and asking her to do things against her better judgment. Then there's Livia and her Secret Test of Character where she sends Zoé to kill Lauren, and they fake Zoé's death just as a psychological test to see Lauren's reaction.
Little Willie Connolly in J.R. Lowell's 1972 thriller Daughter of Darkness is a Deliberately Cute Child and a super-intelligent Child Prodigy, and secretly a practicing witch. She asks her parents for a kitten, but her mother buys a Maltese◊ puppy instead. Unfortunately, Willie's expertise doesn't extend to the fact that she could easily have made the little dog her Familiar (a dog like that would have clinched the Cuteness Factor besides averting All Witches Have Cats). Using a combination of animal psychology and a cursed charm, Willie cold-bloodedly arranges to have her puppy run into heavy traffic in midtown Manhattan. The next day she has her kitten.
Falk of The Dinosaur Lords cements his status as a villain by trying to rape Melodía while drunk. Worse even - he later doesn't fret about the fact that he tried to rape a teenage girl, but that this makes the next parts of his plan problematic.