Dogs In Domestic Violence

Pets are many times the silent victims of domestic violence. They can not fight back and research has shown that up to 71% of battered women report their pet was harmed or killed by their partners. In October 2007, Governor Jodi Rell, signed into effect a law which permits courts to issue orders of protection for animals owned or kept by victims of family violence, stalking or harassment. The orders may prohibit respondents from injuring or threatening to injure the family pet. Many victims of violence stay in an abusive situation for fear of what will happen to the animal they leave behind. Almost half of battered women in Connecticut delay their escape for that reason.

Now, by protecting pets, the 2007 law eliminates the opportunity for abusers to continue to abuse their victims by not subjecting them to further intimidation and cruelty if a pet becomes a target. Ten US States now allow animal companions to be included in protective orders : California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, and Vermont.