If you have a fur baby in your life, you know you will do just about anything to protect them from harm. Many domestic abuse survivors admit to being unwilling to flee to safety if it means leaving their pets behind, making this new legislation so important.
Recently passed Missouri bill, SB-71 will allow added protection to domestic violence victims and their pets. This bill acknowledges just how real the threat can be toward pets in an abusive home, and aims to offer survivors more options in terms of seeking help for their furry family members. It also allows judges to grant restraining orders for extended periods of time, and can automatically renew them without the survivors having to appear in court.
As stated in the SB-71 summary:
“Under this act, adult protection orders and child protection orders, full or ex parte, may be granted to restrain or enjoin an individual from committing or threatening to commit abuse against a pet. A protection order may include an order of possession of the pet where appropriate, as well as any funds needed to cover the medical costs resulting from abuse of the pet.”
We know that there are many factors a victim must consider when attempting to leave a dangerous situation. Having a pet involved can make the situation all the more challenging, as so many survivors cannot fathom seeking protection without their beloved pet.
“Research indicates that up to 89 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser threatened, harmed, or killed a family pet. Additionally, as many as 48 percent of domestic violence survivors with pets delay seeking safety, fearing what would happen if they left their pets behind.” – ASPCA
We can only hope that action like this will empower those in violent homes to seek the help they so desperately deserve, along with their furry friends that are also at risk. By taking one major obstacle out of the equation, this bill could help to save human and animal lives alike.
“Victims of domestic violence should not have to live in constant fear of their abuser’s retaliation, their beloved pet being harmed or having to re-appear in court multiple times to renew the same order of protection. I hope this new law will empower victims to seek protection and enable families to recover from the trauma of domestic abuse .” — Republican Sen. Elaine Gannon
If this bill is signed into law, these measures will go into effect in August of 2021. There are now over 30 states that include pets in their fight against violence in the home, and there are hopefully more to come!