Should Domestic Violence Protection Orders Protect the Family Pet Or Animal Against Abuse?
A bill introduced in August 2013 would amend domestic protection order laws to include your furry friend. The new (potential) law seeks to add “companion animal” to protective order abilities. The new bill seeks to add the language…
The court may include within the scope of a protection order issued under this section any companion animal that is in the complainant’s or alleged victim’s residence and may issue additional orders as it considers appropriate for the protection of the companion animal, including any listed in division (D)(1) of this section. (SB 177: 2013)
This new added language grants courts the power to protect a victim’s animal from abuse. This became a hot issue recently with 71% of women who entered battered or abuse shelters reporting that their batterer killed, injured, or was abusive to their animal companion.
The new bill would grant judges the ability to order a multitude of protections regarding pet abuse. This may seem silly and excessive to some, but to pet owners this is long overdue. The language that would be added by the new bill includes the following…
The court may include within the scope of a protection order issued under this section any companion animal that is in the complainant’s or alleged victim’s residence and may issue additional orders as it considers appropriate for the protection of the companion animal, including any of the following:
- An order directing the alleged offender to refrain from abusing, threatening, injuring, concealing, disposing of, or interfering with the care, custody, and control of a companion animal that is in the possession of the complainant or the alleged victim or the alleged offender or that is owned by the complainant or the alleged victim;
- remove a companion animal from the possession of the alleged offender;
- An order permitting the complainant or the alleged victim to return to the residence to remove a companion animal from the possession of the alleged offender;
- An order prohibiting the alleged offender from having any contact with the companion animal;
- An order directing law enforcement to assist in the safe removal of a companion animal from the possession of the alleged offender.
This new language is very broad. Not only can a judge order the removal of a companion animal, but can deprive an alleged batterer from seeing the animal or having any contact with the animal. An alleged batterer wouldn’t even be able to threaten the companion animal. Essentially, establishing a restraining order for the pet.
The introduction of this bill is not only a great step for animal and pet owner rights, but also for domestic rights. There are many ways an abusive person can torment a victim. The physical abuse is only one part of the dilemma; the mental part is a harder issue. Now that pets can be safely secured, one prong of abuse has been lifted.
More Information On Animal Protection Abuse Laws
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.