Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Include Pets in Domestic Violence Protection Orders

"He told her if she left him he'd kill her cats. Can you help?" The domestic violence volunteer advocate was pleading with DPVHS to provide safe haven for a pair of cats while their person found safety for herself. We were glad to help. And it wasn't the first time we've provided refuge to cats, dogs, and other animals who were being used by abusers to control their victims.

In fact, according to a recent study, animal abuse was present in 71% of non-fatal cases of domestic violence. Furthermore, the study found, 48% of victims will not leave their abuser for fear that animals will be hurt or killed. These sobering statistics demonstrate the importance of including animals in domestic violence protection orders.

As the 2009-2010 Massachusetts legislative session gets underway, lawmakers will be asked to consider this very thing. House Bill #1499 will provide protection for both human and animal victims of domestic violence, allowing judges to include household pets in domestic violence restraining orders. In considering this legislation, Massachusetts is following in the footsteps of other states with similar laws in place or bills pending. These include our neighbors in Maine, New York, and Vermont.

What can you do? Let your lawmakers know the importance of supporting this life-saving legislation. Volunteer to serve as a Safety Plan for Animals foster home to help DPVHS ensure safe haven for animal victims of domestic violence.

1 comment:

  1. I am embarrassed to say I don't know which of my representatives I should contact about a House Bill. Please help.