On May 15, 2014, the New Hampshire Senate passed a bill that allows pets to be included in court dictation that protects victims of domestic violence, according to WMUR9. The bill, which passed without debate, includes both stalking and domestic violence.
Though opponents claim the bill is not needed because animal cruelty laws already exist, the bill will serve to prevent harm to animals and not wait until harm has occurred.
The bill will let judges grant custody of domestic pets or farm animals to the victim. This will go a long way to protect animals from abusers who may use the pets to intimidate the victim or turn their anger on the animal. The bill will also “issue an order barring the abuser from harming or disposing of the animal,” as reported by WMUR.
“One of the things we have consistently seen is that victims of domestic abuse are afraid to leave their homes because they are worried about what will happen to their pet. There is a link between people who kill or maim their pet and subsequently harm their partners,” said a spokesperson for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
The bill is now awaiting review in the House.
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