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2 bills introduced seek to create greater legal protection for pets

Kai Porter
March 07, 2017 06:15 PM

Two new bills are being considered by lawmakers that aim to provide owners and their pets more legal protection, especially in cases of divorce and domestic abuse.

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One bill (HB 448) details who can get custody of a pet in cases of divorce, while the other (HB449) makes killing or threatening to kill a pet an act of domestic violence during cases involving domestic violence.

State Representative Joann J. Ferrary is sponsoring the bills.

The first bill  would allow a judge to decide who retains ownership of the pet, regardless of whose name is on the ownership papers.

The second bill aims to prevent an animal being used in a domestic violence situation to control the victim through threats or seek revenge on the animal.

“Companion animals and pets are part of the family and very much an emotional thing for everyone for a lot of people, so we need to be able to make sure they are not being abused or neglected. And, also that they’re not used as leverage against a person to stay in a relationship,” said Representative Joanne J. Ferrary.

CYFD reports abuse or threats of abuse against pets are a common power and control tactic used by abusers. The reports show that 75% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported their abusers had harmed or killed family pets for revenge and control.

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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