Domestic Violence Pet Protection Laws Take Effect

New state laws in California and Illinois allow judges to include pets in domestic violence restraining orders.

Posted: January 2 2008 2 a.m. EDT

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Domestic Violence Pet Protection Laws Take Effect

Cats caught in the middle of family violence now have a shield of protection in Illinois and California.

In California and Illinois, pets caught in the middle of family violence now have a shield of protection. State laws passed in 2007 allowing courts to include pets in domestic violence restraining orders took effect Jan. 1, 2008.

The new legislation allows judges to order the accused abuser to stay away from the animal while granting the victim exclusive care of the pet.

Studies show that approximately 25 to 40 percent of domestic violence victims do not leave their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets or livestock, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). And 71 percent of pet-owning women in shelters reported that a pet had been threatened, injured or killed by their abuser.

The two states join Maine, Vermont, New York and Connecticut in implementing legislation that protects pets from domestic violence. Several other states are considering similar measures.

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Reader Comments

Pam    Sugar Grove, IL

8/1/2012 1:59:41 PM

San Francisco, Ca now outlaws anyone from declawing a cat in that city. If I were told what a horrible procedure this was, I would've never, ever had that done to my cat. I live with the guilt of doing it every time at look at my cat. If the Veterinarians would be more concerned about helping the animal and owner to overcome the scratching rather then making money, they could inform the owners on what a horrible procedure this is, and offer advise on how to correct it, rather then cutting off their fingers at the first joint.

Michelle    Pico Rivera, CA

5/18/2008 11:59:57 AM

I'm sure the neighbor has been killing cats, including some that were mine. I would like to send my neighbor a copy of the law against hurting domestic pets, and some of the penalties for doing so. I don't know how to go about finding the information. Please help. I live in California. Michelle

Catlover    Burbank, CA

2/26/2008 12:50:27 PM

This is a good start but the laws need to be stricter and include all violence towards animals. They also should be enacted in all states.

Ellen    Attleboro, MA

1/3/2008 12:08:28 AM

I hope all states enact such laws~

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