ABUSE LAW PROTECTING ANIMALS -  UPDATES                             Back to:  NEWS

The Kitty Liberation Front is excited to learn that recognition to the danger of animals loved by their owners is a big part of the abuse scenario!  Hats off to Maine for including protection of our beloved animal friends!  May ALL the states follow suit!
 

Vermont could follow Maine in offering pet protection orders
April 14, 2006

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A Senate committee has passed a bill that would allow judges to include pets in protection orders for people leaving abusive relationships.

The initiative is included in a larger bill that would allow victims to seek protection from stalking.

If passed, Vermont would become one of two states to offer court protection to pets.

"There is substantial evidence that people in divorce use pets as leverage," said Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, R-Essex/Orleans, who introduced the measure. "It is a serious issue. Pets are often a weapon of choice in exerting dominance or control over loved ones." 

©Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Pioneering law includes pets in protection orders
April 12, 2006

Spurred by growing evidence of a link between domestic violence and animal abuse, Maine has enacted a first-in-the-nation law that allows judges to include pets in protection orders for people leaving abusive relationships.

In protecting pets, advocates hope to help battered women and others who aren't willing to abandon their animals to be saved themselves.

"This is a very innovative new approach, and it makes perfect sense because the protection order is a critical stage for women and others seeking protection," said Nancy Perry of the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States.

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Gov. John Baldacci says the law, which provides for civil penalties such as fines or jail time for those who violate a protection order, should give pause to abusers who might resort to violence or threats against pets as a means of keeping their victims from leaving a relationship  (Full story...)

©Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

New Maine law expands scope of protection orders to include pets
April 11, 2006,
 
PORTLAND, Maine — Spurred by growing evidence of a link between domestic violence and animal abuse, Maine has enacted a first-in-the-nation law that allows judges to include pets in protection orders for spouses and partners leaving abusive relationships.

In helping pets, advocates hope to help battered women and others who aren´t willing to abandon their animals to be saved themselves.

"It's kind of hard to pack up a whole barn full of animals," said Susan Walsh, whose dog and sheep were killed by her husband. "And I knew that any animal I left behind would be dead in 24 hours."

"This is a very innovative, new approach, and it makes perfect sense because the protection order is a critical stage for women and others seeking protection," said Nancy Perry of the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States...   (Full story...)


Additional Excerpt from article: 
Other states recognize link

Although Maine's law is unique, other states have statutes that reflect the link between domestic violence and animal abuse. Laws in California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio and Tennessee encourage cross-reporting among agencies involved in law enforcement, domestic violence, child protection and animal control, Perry said.

Animal welfare agents already have been looking at ways to help potentially endangered pets whose owners are in abusive situations.

"A growing trend is called safe havens. These are cooperative agreements between shelters for women and shelters for animals," Perry said.

Several agencies in Maine participate in a program called PAWS -- Pets and Women to Safety -- that arranges confidential placement of animals in foster care so their owners can move into a shelter knowing that their pets will be safe.

The Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk has a PAWS program that works with Caring Unlimited. "They've worked with all kinds of pets and farm animals," Peoples said, "from cats and dogs to horses and exotic birds." 


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©Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

USU research influences Maine law
April 12, 2006 By Linda Thomson, Deseret Morning News
 

A Utah State University professor's research about the connection between cruelty toward animals and domestic violence has influenced lawmakers in Maine to adopt a new law — the first of its kind in the nation — that expands the scope of protective orders to include pets.

Frank Ascione, USU professor of psychology, has conducted extensive research on the link between mistreating animals and mistreating women. One of his studies published in 1998 showed that 71 percent of women in a Utah shelter for battered women said their partner had threatened or hurt the woman's pet.

That study was cited by Maine Rep. John Piotti, a Democrat, who sponsored a bill that became law on Monday that permits judges to include pets in protective orders for people leaving abusive relationships.

A subsequent study by Ascione and some of his colleagues, due to be published soon, involved five Utah shelters and 101 women who reported being battered, along with a control group of 120 women who said they had not been battered.

In that study, 54 percent of the women who had been battered said their partner hurt or killed the animal, while 18 percent of the women reported the abusive partner had threatened the pet. These findings have been supported by other studies conducted since then in South Carolina, New York, Canada and Australia.

"This new law is a progressive effort that should become a model for other states," Ascione said.
"Hopefully, it will convince judges and prosecutors of that the importance of animals in the lives of women who are battered is important enough to include these animals in orders of protection," Ascione said.

This also sends a message to batterers, Ascione said: If they violate a civil protection order by hurting pets, it could result in criminal charges ultimately being filed against them.

His work confirms that abusers threaten, torture or even kill pets as a means of forcing their partner to stay in the relationship and put up with whatever the abuser wants.
 (Full story...)

Ascione is the author of "Safe Havens for Pets: Guidelines for Programs Sheltering Pets For Women Who are Battered" and another book published last year titled "Children and Animals: Exploring the Roots of Kindness and Cruelty."

Baldacci signs into law pet-protection bill
April 1, 2006
 

 AUGUSTA, Maine --Pets as well as people can be protected from domestic violence under a new law that expands the scope of court orders

Gov. John Baldacci signed what he described as a first-in-the-nation law that allows a judge to include pets in protection-from-abuse orders. Civil penalties for harming a pet in violation of a court order includes fines and jail time.

"With this new law we hope to help remove another tool for emotional and physical violence used by abusers in their effort to exert power and control over their victims," he said.

Baldacci, who has two springer spaniels named Sam and Murphy, signed the bill Friday in a ceremony attended by anti-domestic violence and animal protection advocates.

Gretchen Ziemer of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence said many people are unaware of the link between animal abuse and domestic violence.

"This is such a large barrier to people seeking safety," she said. "A perpetrator will use anything that the victim cares about or loves for control."

Maine Public Safety Commissioner Michael Cantara cited the case of a battered woman whose yard became a real-life "pet cemetery" because her husband killed pets to send a message to the woman and her children that they'd better follow his rules.

"Her abuser kept telling her that what had happened to those animals was going to happen to her. This is not a unique case," Cantara said.

Police officers often watch for signs of animal abuse on domestic calls, just as animal welfare officers look for signs of domestic abuse, he said.

"Violence is violence," Cantara said. "Where there is animal cruelty in the home, chances are someone else is being hurt, too." 
 (Full story...)

Related Stories: Maine Adds Pets To Protection Orders

 

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