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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 10, 2021 12:24 PM
From: Representative Christina D. Sappey and Rep. Natalie Mihalek
To: All House members
Subject: Animal Abuse in Domestic Violence Situations
According to the Humane Society of the United States, data on domestic violence and child abuse cases reveal that a staggering number of animals are targeted by those who abuse their children or spouses.  In one survey, 71 percent of domestic violence victims reported that their abuser also targeted pets.  Researchers have found links between coercive control and the abuse of pets, with abusers often using family pets as leverage in the torment of their victims, threatening to harm or kill them if their victims leave.  Many victims feel forced to stay with coercive partners because they are worried their pets could be attacked. 
For these reasons, we will introduce legislation to amend the Protection From Abuse Act in order to give judges the ability to order the defendant to refrain from abusing the victim’s pets.  The Protection From Abuse Act gives judges the ability to order many different kinds of relief in order to prevent further abuse.  However, a judge has no explicit authority to order that the defendant not kill or maim a victim’s pets.  It is not unusual for defendants to harm a victim’s pet as part of the abuse.
There is no reason any animal should have to go through unimaginable anguish and pain at the hands of someone who is supposed to take care of them.  It is our duty as legislators to recognize that the time has come to go even further to protect and serve all of our constituents, including humans and animals.  Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation to protect animals from abuse. 

Introduced as HB1031