Bill would offer protections for domestic violence victims’ pets

A bipartisan bill unveiled this week would expand federal law to include protections for the pets of domestic violence victims.

The measure’s authors, Reps. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), argue that it would help prevent domestic violence victims from staying in abusive relationships out of concern for their pets.

{mosads}”Most pet lovers, including me, consider their beloved dog or cat a part of their family. No one should have to make the choice between leaving an abusive situation and ensuring their pet’s safety,” Clark said in a statement.

“Too many victims feel compelled to stay in abusive relationships to protect their pets,” Ros-Lehtinen added.

The bill, titled the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, would establish a federal grant program for provide transitional shelter for pets of abuse victims. The lawmakers noted that as little as three percent of domestic violence shelters are able to house pets.

Clark previously introduced the bill in the last Congress, but it never made it through the committee process.

The legislation is endorsed by multiple organizations, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society of the United States, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Animal Welfare Institute.


Tags Domestic violence Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Katherine Clark
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