The safety of a family’s pets is often a consideration for victims of domestic violence as they contemplate leaving an abuser. That is why it is extremely important for courts to have legal recourse in dealing with animals in homes affected by domestic violence.
Oregon just passed Senate Bill 616 that “authorizes courts to include order providing for safety and welfare of parties’ animals in restraining order under Family Abuse Prevention Act.” The law allows judges to include family pets in protection orders afforded to human family members, thereby providing an extra layer of safety for the entire family.
Right or wrong, some women stay in abusive situations when they cannot provide safety for their pets. Many abusers also manipulate their victims through threats or actual acts of violence towards pets. By allowing this extra layer of legal protection for pets, the State of Oregon is making it more possible for families to seek safety effectively.
I applaud Oregon’s efforts as it becomes the 17th state to enact such protections for animals and families. Let’s hope the momentum continues and spreads to other states as well.