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Domestic Violence Legislation Better Protects Pets



For many years, the Society has taken in the innocent victims of abuse in domestic violence situations as a temporary haven while the families straighten out their lives. Most recently, two finches named Spiderman and Trixie, (see photo right), the beloved pets of two young boys whose mother needed to seek safety for herself and her sons, were in need of such temporary haven themselves. With the finches safely housed at the Society, the mother can look for a new home and a new life for her family without the concern and responsibility of the birds until they are ready for them to return.

The Society works with many social service agencies when there are pets involved in domestic violence disputes. Abusers will frequently use the animals to threaten or intimidate the family and in many cases the animals are the target of violence. Thankfully, legislators as well as community awareness and the courts are now seeking to provide new outlets and resources.

Maineís Gov. Baldacci recently signed into law a bill that allows animals to be included in protection orders in domestic violence cases. Vermont has a similar bill going through the legislature that would allow pets to be included in protection orders. In New York, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal has authored a bill to protect companion animals and would allow family courts to include companion animals under the provisions of a court order of protection. New York is only the third state in the nation to pass such a measure. It is awaiting the Governorís signature. (A.10767-A).

7/13/2006

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