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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 20, 2023 09:57 AM
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 reintroduce 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 nor for this concern to prevent victims from escaping their abuser.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation to protect animals from abuse. 
Past cosponsors of this legislation (formerly HB 1031) included: Hanbidge, Galloway, Malagari, Howard, T. Davis, Freeman, Hill-Evans, Sanchez, Kinsey, McNeill, Pashinski, Hohenstein, Brooks, Ciresi, Isaacson, Thomas, Schroeder, Solomon, Shusterman, O’Mara, Sainato, Pisciottano, Schweyer, Farry, Krueger, Schlegel Culver and Benham.

Introduced as HB1210