One of the most common tactics used by abusers in domestic violence situation is to harm or threaten to harm pets as a means of controlling a partner. U.S. Sen Gary Peters (D-MI) has introduced a bill that would extend domestic violence protections to the pets of the victims, too.
The Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS) would expand federal domestic violence protections to include threats or acts of violence against a victim’s pet, and provides grant funding to programs that offer shelter and housing assistance for domestic violence victims with pets. The bill also requires the full amount of the victim’s losses for purposes of restitution in domestic violence and stalking offenses to include any costs incurred for veterinary services relating to physical care for the victim’s pet.
“Abusers often exploit the emotional attachment victims have with their pets, leaving victims of domestic violence stuck choosing between their own safety or leaving a beloved pet in harm’s way,” said Senator Peters. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will help empower victims to leave abusive situations, get a fresh start and keep their pets who are treasured members of their families.”