Thursday, February 26, 2009

Legislation Related To Addressing Link Between Animal Abuse And Domestic Abuse

I blogged about the link between animal abuse and domestic violence last October when I wrote about the Intimate Partner Violence workshop's session where Jan Egge talked about the murder of her sister.

This topic wasn't highlighted in the Meeting Survivor's Needs survey of domestic violence shelter residents but it might exist under conflicts residents have related to a shelter's rules.

From the Quad City Times:

DES MOINES [Iowa] — Victims of domestic violence should be able to seek court protection for a family pet to keep an abuser from causing harm to an animal or using a pet to gain leverage, advocates said Wednesday. [...]

As a potential remedy, legislation is working through the Iowa House and Senate that would expand the scope of judicial restraint in domestic abuse cases to include specifically named pets. Domestic-violence victims could petition the court to require that an abuser stay away from the family’s animals, as well as the victim and the children, under the legislative proposals.

A judge could issue temporary and permanent orders granting exclusive care, possession or control of a family pet. The court action also could order an abuser to stay away from the animal and forbid the abuser from “taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, molesting, attacking, striking, threatening, harming, or otherwise disposing” of the animal.

This update is needed and similar legislation should be introduced in other states. Legislators in Maryland are considering similar legislation and other measures related to domestic violence. Unlike many other types of legislation this is not an expensive change.

Without this change judges may decide to include animals if those seeking orders realize they can make this request, but their inclusion still needs to explicitly be part of the official system. This protects both animals and the people who care about those animals.

Along with this change needs to be more coordination between animal shelters and domestic violence shelters so that concern for animals doesn't prevent any adult or child from seeking safety.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:50 AM   3 comments links to this post


At February 26, 2009 10:52 AM, Blogger Rj said...

All this is is further evidence to me that animals have more rights/protections than children (and women). I, unfortunately, am not impressed but almost rather amused. The AHA has a campaign for abused animals, however upon digging on their website, they also campaign for fathers rights aka abusers lobby.

At February 26, 2009 11:44 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


First, who is AHA?

I don't see this legislative effort as evidence that pets have more rights than humans even if some organizations which get involved do put animal rights above the rights of humans.

If a pet is included in the order for protection and that pet is harmed or taken that is evidence related to the allegation of human to human violence.

All violations of the conditions in orders for protection need to result in criminal charges. Otherwise order for protections become little more than a joke.

Too often pets are used by abusers to control other adults and children. This needs to be acknowledged by our criminal justice system.

At March 01, 2009 8:58 AM, Blogger Rj said...

Sorry about that the AHA is the American Humane Society.

Pets are used by abusers to control same as children are used...and yet the system continuously forced those children to have a relationship with, or live with, their abusers.

It is nice to include pets, but until the seriousness of what is happening with children (and women) is even partially resolved, I say, let's do things one step at a time.


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