Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has signed An Act Concerning the Protection of Pets in Domestic Violence Cases. The new law will be effective October 1 and will permit courts to issue orders of protection for animals owned or kept by victims of family violence, stalking, or harassment. The orders may, at a minimum, prohibit respondents from injuring or threatening to injure the animals.
Currently, only three other states: New York, Maine and Vermont have ennacted laws to include pets in protective orders involving cases of domestic violence.
More about An Act Concerning the Protection of Pets in Domestic Violence Cases after the jump.
Threatening the pet often causes the victim to stay for fear of what might happen to the animal if they leave,â€ Governor Rell said. â€œStudies have found that almost half of battered women delay their escape for that reason.
â€œPets are too often the silent victims of domestic violence. They cannot fight back, and they are presently afforded no protection under our current legal system. This law will help will protect pets in domestic violence cases by authorizing courts to include a prohibition on harming a pet when it issues a restraining or protective order. I firmly believe that protecting animals can help protect human victims of domestic violence.â€
Research also shows that pet abuse is a predictor of domestic violence, and paying attention to pet abuse can save human lives. The Governor noted that studies show that up to 71 percent of battered women report their pet was threatened, harmed, or killed by their partners. A national survey found that 85 percent of women’s shelters indicated that women seeking safety described incidents of pet abuse in their families.
â€œBy protecting pets, the new law shuts the door on any opportunities for abusers to continue to abuse their victims,â€ Governor Rell said. â€œVictim of domestic violence should not be subject to this further intimidation and cruelty if a pet becomes a target.â€