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Chronic Pet Killer

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Here lies Fluffy and Bubbles and Rover and Polly and… wait, is that an armadillo?

"So far I've killed my frog, two gerbils, 16 goldfish, a Schnauzer, and a Dachshund. This is the only bastard that survived me."
Keiichirou Miyanoshita, Ghost Stories Gag Dub

A character whose pet, unfortunately, has met an untimely end. Just like the last one. And the one before that, and the one before that. And the one before that, too. And the one before that. And the one. Before. That.

Whether it's a propensity for overly tight hugs, frequent life-threatening hijinks, complete cluelessness about pets' needs, or something else entirely, this person should not be allowed to own animals. Period.

Oddly, this trope can be played for laughs, fear, creepiness, or tragedy depending on the work.

Compare And Call Him "George". See also Walking Wasteland. Less innocent examples of the trope may overlap with Bad People Abuse Animals.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In book two of RE:PLAY, a fictional interview with some of the lead characters reveals that lead singer Cree has killed four hamsters, a guinea pig, and one unfortunate canary. Oh, and countless goldfish. Poor bastards...
  • An episode in Doraemon begins with some goldfish in Nobi's residence dying again, causing Doraemon to solve a problem by using the special paint that can create multiple types of pet from rocks.
  • Angel Tales has a certain foundation on this trope, as the main character's previously dead pets are resurrected as humanoid girls to serve him as guardian angels. While he was not directly responsible for their deaths (in fact they return because he cared deeply for each one of them), twelve pets dead from non-natural causes is quite a feat.
  • Kagura in Gintama. Her enthusiasm combined with her incredible strength has killed her pets in the past. Fortunately Sadaharu is huge enough and strong enough to survive.

    Comic Strips 
  • Played for Laughs in one Zits comic where Pierce comes back with some food to find his pet mayfly dead. Jeremy lampshades that this may be why most people don't keep pet mayflies, as he and Pierce walk past a row of tiny coffins.note 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Darla Sherman from Finding Nemo doesn't know how to take care of her pets and kills them. She almost kills Nemo by shaking his bag.
  • Harley Quinn is this way in Batman and Harley Quinn. Her dog got lost, she killed her hamster, and she killed her "pet" plant as well.
  • In Vivo, Gabi's closet holds a whole menagerie of pet enclosures and gravestones, much to Vivo's horror.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Natalie Portman's character in Garden State.
    Sam: I know it looks bad, but we've just had so many pets over the years. Besides, a lot of these were fish.
  • The young Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007) goes through pet rats very quickly.

  • The Death of Rats in Discworld reaps the souls of a lot of mice, gerbils, and hamsters that run into this. Susan has to replace the class pet at her school regularly.
    • It's noted in Hogfather that the Death of Rats isn't very busy on Hogswatch Eve, but business picks up about three days later, when all the children who got mice, gerbils, or hamsters for Hogswatch start forgetting to feed their pets. Or "trying to find out how they go".
    • In Wyrd Sisters it's revealed that Magrat has gone through quite a few familiars, invoking this trope. Although some of them just wandered off.
  • Lennie from Of Mice and Men, Played for Drama. The guy doesn't know his strength, many cute pets and one important woman are accidentally crushed by him.
  • Tonk Fah from Warbreaker. He has a monkey, then a parrot, and they both die. In this case, it's used to make him a little creepy. He's a sociopath who tortures his pets to death for fun.
  • Dexter has an abysmal track record with pets, largely because Animals Hate Him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • They're not exactly pets, but GOB from Arrested Development has terribly bad luck with animals used in his magic acts.
  • Drusilla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Also Buffy "I killed my Giga Pet" Summers, herself. (This was part of an arc that drew parallels between these two protagonists left and right, so probably an afterthought rather than normal characterization.)
    • Willow and Tara don't appear to make a habit of this, but merit a mention for managing to somehow accidentally kill their cat by leaving a cocked and loaded crossbow lying around, which is an Epic Fail on multiple levels.
  • George Dead Like Me is noted to have been like this in life in one episode where her latest reap insists she take care of her dog before agreeing to pass on. She winds up secretly giving the dog to her parents and little sister, who keep him alive for the rest of the season before he gets hit by a car.
  • Spencer from iCarly is known for "his many dead goldfish".
  • Dwight Schrute from the American version of The Office (US).
  • A one-off gag in Peep Show notes that Dobby had a lot of cats growing up, but they never lasted long because she lived "quite near an A-road".
  • Cady in Reaper.
  • There was a Saturday Night Live bit called "The Mellow Show" where the host would always forget to feed his pets...
  • In Gilmore Girls, all of Lorelai Gilmore's pets — at least until she adopts the dog Paul Anka in season 6 — have died. It's a running gag, to the point where the town's people attempt to stop the dog shelter worker from giving the dog to Lorelai.
  • Animal Cops Michigan features one of these. A woman calls Animal Control as she believes her housemate is killing her cats and her latest one is badly injured. Fortunately the guy comes clean and is arrested (with the animal cops outright stating he needs help). The injured cat is taken to the vet and then rehomed.

  • In one scene of the Animated Music Video for Country Music band Lonestar's 2004 hit "Mr. Mom", a child chases the dog through the yard, which features a long line of pet tombstones.
  • The Handsome Family's "So Long" is basically a list of pets and other animals whose deaths the narrator was responsible for.
  • Haruka Sakurai, one of the prisoners in MILGRAM, is heavily implied to have killed several pets, including fishes, insects, two dogs, and a cat. He did this out of a desperate desire to get his neglectful mother to start caring for him, which caused him to go insane and eventually commit the murder that landed him in prison.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, Druids and Rangers have picked up this reputation among the player base. Since the only penalty for losing an animal companion is the ritual required to call a new one (unlike most other pets or auxiliary characters), using them as semi-disposable "meat shields" is a viable strategy.
  • This tendency wound up being discouraged in Pathfinder with the Cavalier, who must go through a week-long grieving ceremony if his horse is killed.

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom of Loathing: Stephen Spookyraven's pets tending to be strangely short-lived is the explanation for why the Haunted Conservatory at Spookyraven Manor has unlimited numbers of small undead animals for you to kill. After the May 2014 revamp of Spookyraven Manor, we find out why Stephen's pets kept dying: Stephen was a budding Mad Scientist who used to practice surgery on stray animals, and as he grew older he started experimenting on his "pets" in an effort to keep them alive.
  • Commander Shepard can become this in Mass Effect 2. Shepard's cabin aboard the Normandy features a fish tank, and Shepard can purchase fish from various vendors. The fish need to be fed between missions or they'll die, and have to be repurchased. Later on, Shepard's yeoman offers to take care of the fish, and from that point on it's no longer a worry. Mass Effect 3 introduces a rather expensive automated fish feeder that provides the same function. Thankfully, your hamster is indestructible.
    • In the Citadel DLC for the third game, Miranda can lampshade this habit after an altercation with mooks causes a fancy sushi restaurant's aquarium floor to collapse.
    Miranda: Executing marine life seems to be some sort of hobby with you.
  • Invoked in Harvest Moon, especially Save the Homeland and Wonderful Life where the games strictly keep track of your dead pets. The more animals die on your farm, the more people will hate you.
  • Yes, Your Grace: While she has no direct hand in it besides her attempts to train them as agents, the wild animals taken in by Princess Cedani have a dismal survival rate. To wit: her snail gets eaten, someone sits on her hedgehog, her rooster gets butchered in the kitchens and her fox gets killed by a hunter. All this happens within about half a year.
  • Habren Bryland in Dragon Age: Origins is a Spoiled Brat who, rumor has it, keeps buying mabari hound puppies. Dragon Age: Inquisition includes a letter in which she pleads with her father to get her a fennec fox and claims "It's not my fault Primmie and Bobble broke."
    Reports indicate that Habren did receive a white fox as a gift from her father, later that month. She promptly "lost" it down a well.

  • Ariel of Drowtales has been Flanderized into this by the fandom even though she's only had three pets and one, the feral Melodia, is still alive, but either way she's still 1-2 on their survival rate. Fuzzy, the cat, was killed by her abusive older sister, while the other was a biogolem who she absorbed in order to escape someone trying to rape her (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Prince Ricardo of No Rest for the Wicked is on his ninth horse named Artax.

    Web Original 
  • Sapnap from the Dream SMP is best known for being lethal to just about any pet on the server, to the point where three entire wars (aptly called the Pet Wars) were started because of him. Among other casualties, he's killed Dream's horse Spirit, Niki's fox Fungi, Tommy's cow Henry, and Tommy's horse Juorsenote . He later weaponizes his habits during the Doomsday War, where he personally kills over sixty members of Technoblade's Hound Army (including the leader of the pack, Max). He also spent about half an hour trying to pet Tubbo's fox Squeeks... which, in his mind, means punching him and shooting at him with fire arrows while Tubbo runs around frantically trying to get Squeeks to safety. Ironically enough, Sapnap's own pets seem to be treated well, as evidenced by his still-alive pet fish Mars.note 
  • Flux Buddies: Duncan Jones has a pet cat named Tiddles that he keeps accidentally killing (accidentally dumping lava on her, accidentally shooting her with a crossbow, etc.) and then replacing with another cat named Tiddles.
  • Killerbunnies: Frankie's profile mentions this with her pets because she used them as test subjects.
  • Some horrible stories from Not Always Right involving customers who don't know that fish need to be fed, or breathe, or their water changed, put too many of them into a bowl, or take them out of the water to play with them!
  • In Pokémon Rusty, when Rusty enters the Ghost Tower in Lavender Town, he's confronted by the ghosts of all the Pokémon he's accidentally killed so far, including sixteen Bidoofs he tried to cram into a single Poké Ball, a Zubat he drowned after trying to Surf on its back, a Grimer he washed down the drain, and a Tentacool he electrocuted after plugging its "power cables" (actually its tentacles) into a wall socket.
  • In the early episodes of Stampy's Lovely World, Stampy himself was this, as demonstrated by the fact that he has more dead dogs (16) than alive ones (9). He notes that he isn't very proud of the list of dogs which made it to the memorial at the back of the Top Paw Dog Assault Course in Episode 110, "Lunar Friends". A story from Episode 243, "Ghost Stories", even lists out all the known dogs that died during episodes, which had had more additions since Episode 110. Even in his early videos, he occasionally joked that he's the worst dog owner in the world, given his track record. This is all somewhat justified in that other than Aqua and Spring, all the dog deaths occurred before Episode 105 when he was still a relatively inexperienced dog owner. He eventually grows out of this and becomes much more cautious about his pets' safety, to the point that no (permanent) casualties have happened since Spring was killed in August 2014... until Episode 700, "Tragic Day", where two of his dogs died in battle fighting alongside him against HitTheTarget and Veeva Dash (with a third being mistaken for dead for months), but even then, it makes more sense to blame HTT than Stampy for this.

    Western Animation 
  • Elmyra in Tiny Toon Adventures, though it's more chronic abuse than negligent killing... she is such a terror that when her dead pets returned to life to get revenge on a Halloween episode short, her attempts to 'take care' and 'play' with them (which tears them apart instead—they were very rotten corpses) makes them race back to their graves while they're still (relatively) intact.
  • The Simpsons:
    • From "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot" onwards, the Simpsons' cat Snowball II (named after their first cat, a Posthumous Character) is actually their fifth Snowball after Lisa goes through three cats—Snowballs II, III, and a cat named "Coltrane"—through a series of accidents (and Coltrane apparently committing suicide because he hated jazz). The fifth, Snowball V (who's simply called "Snowball II" so Lisa won't have to buy a new personalized dish), ironically survived nearly getting hit by a car after Lisa shooed her away...and she was given to Lisa by the Crazy Cat Lady, because the animal refuge absolutely refused to sell her any more cats, even saying that they probably would live longer on death row (and it's Not Hyperbole — none of them lasted more than a few minutes after arriving to the Simpson home).
    • The Simpsons in general—Status Quo Is God ensures that their only permanent pets are Snowball II and Santa's Little Helpernote , so any new pet is on its way out, though most of the ones we see in the show are given away. In "How Munched is That Birdie in the Window," Bart, shortly after losing the latest (a pigeon), finds out that none of his previous pets were actually sent to a farm upstate and asks where they really went, to which Homer gives him the rundown:
    • On a few occasions, it's mentioned that Springfield Elementary has a very high class pet mortality rate, to the point where it leads the school district in hamster deaths.
  • Timmy from The Fairly OddParents! thought he was this, although he was told his pets just ran away. Really, all his animals died and were buried in the garden by his dad while Timmy was away at summer
    • To be fair, nothing suggested that Timmy himself was that bad of a pet owner, just that he was maybe wrong in leaving his dad in charge of their care.
    • In "Fairly OddPet", he was for sure a bad pet owner. He took his pet snail to a salt factory and it died.
  • In the Tex Avery MGM Cartoons short "Lonesome Lenny", a big dopey dog named Lenny keeps accidentally killing his companions. Whenever one of them would die, he would say, "You know, I had a little friend once, but he don't move no more". This is an unsubtle Shout-Out to Of Mice and Men, as mentioned above.
    • This, by the way, was the last Screwy Squirrel cartoon.
  • A variant in South Park, where it turns out that all of Paris Hilton's pets had committed suicide rather than putting up with their obnoxious owner.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Have You Seen This Snail?", Gary runs away and gets taken in by a kind old lady. He later finds out that she's this trope after discovering the shells of her previous snails, either because she overfed them (given that she's old, it wouldn't be surprising) or because she fattens them so she can eventually eat them. He bails out of there, but not without a fight.
  • Implied to be the case with Brittany's little brother from Daria, as, according to one episode, he's the reason they don't bother to name their pets anymore.
  • While not a killer, Unikitty in Unikitty! is so focused on the "fun" of having a pet, that she loses track of them, to the point of permanently losing them and moving on to the next pet. The castle even has a "Hall of Lost Pets" memorial hall, with pictures of all the pets Unikitty has lost, including a planted Venus flytrap.
  • Kelsey of Craig of the Creek has gone through 37 parakeets before getting to her current iteration of Mortimer.
  • The titular Kevin Spencer kept killing his pets as the voices in his head kept telling him to do it.
  • An episode of Moville Mysteries centers on a boy named Emil who is obsessed with getting pets, but is horribly neglectful of them, to the point his backyard doubles as a cemetery for them. The plot kickstarts when the local pet shops refuse to sell him more and he gets some exotic animals from a strange man named Mr. Pong. The animals are very healthy and affective despite being as neglected and cause him to have nightmares about his previous pets raising from the dead. At the end is revealed that "Mr. Pong" is the vengeful spirit of one of his pets, a frog named Ping-Pong.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Gumball went through a dozen Darwins before Richard purchased the current one. And Darwin was bought from the Awesome Store because the pet store's remaining goldfish saw Richard coming and escaped.

    Real Life 
  • This is tragically Truth in Television for children who don't understand how to care for their animals and whose parents keep getting them pets because they either:
    • Are just as clueless,
    • Are unwilling to help or take over as needed,
    • Are used to placating a whiny kid instead of saying "no",
    • Just don't care if the animals die, or
    • A combination of some or all of the above.
  • This also happens with some adults who don't think carefully enough about all the care and attention that a pet entails but decide to keep trying anyway. Because of this, vets commonly put PSAs out at their offices to prevent this from happening.