Pets Protected In Domestic Violence Cases

Pets Protected In Domestic Violence Cases

A new law, that will take effect on Sept. 1, includes pets in protective orders.

The hope is that more victims of domestic violence will be willing to come forward and remove themselves from the abusive home, if they know their pets are safe as well.

"A lot of times that's the reason that they don't leave the abusive home, because they're afraid to leave their animals," said Executive Director of the Humane Society of Wichita County Patti Hilliard. "So I think if they have protection for their animals, that it will help them get out of the situation too."

Abusers often threaten to hurt or even kill the family pets, and use that as leverage to make the victim stay.

Legal Advocate for First Step Inc. Ophelia Perez said the organization has been able to help clients find a safe place for their pets in the past. However, they  had no legal backing if the abuser demands the pet back.

Now, Perez believes this new law will help more victims get out of abusive situations. "They'll know now that if they have a situation, that there is hope for them to keep their pets safe, while they're trying to get help from us," said Perez.

Christina Myers