My daughter is our only child. She is very spoiled with toys and clothes and people who love her. She gets hugs and kisses daily from all of her wonderful family. I just don't understand why she acts this way. When she was three we had a cat briefly, until it ran away. I don't blame him. Our daughter constantly put him in drawers, threw him on the ground, and pulled his tail and we constantly explained to her why it was wrong. She cried and cried today and said she did not mean to hurt the puppy, but I just don't know what to think.
At four-and-a-half years old, she doesn't have an internalized, fully developed conscience yet, but she certainly knows that when she kicks, she causes pain. She knows that from experience and from what you have explained to her about hitting and kicking others/pets.
I would have to know much more about your daughter to even offer an educated guess as to why she has mistreated the pets that you have owned. From what you have mentioned about her perhaps being "spoiled" and indulged, maybe she isn't ready for what she might perceive as a competitor for all that affection and attention. And I hesitate to make even that educated guess.
What is clear is her track record with animals. Two suggestions: 1. Experiment for a brief time with making her in charge of loving the puppy and praising her for doing such a good job (providing she does), while making comments like, "Boy, he seems to love you more than anyone. I think it's because you're so nice to him." You will have to keep a close eye on her, to protect the puppy. 2. Find a new home for the puppy because your daughter doesn't know how to stop herself from being unkind to animals in her house.
If you see evidence of her being unkind to animals in other situations, please consult a child therapist. I don't mean to sound alarming but any child who purposely, repeatedly tries to hurt animals needs help.