Mass Senate Bill Would Include Pets in Protective Orders

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A bill that would extend domestic violence protections to animals in Massachusetts was heard by a legislative panel this week.

Sponsored by Senator Katherine Clark, the bill would allow courts to include pets in restraining orders. It would also prohibit abusing, threatening, or disposing of an animal.

Clark says she proposed the legislation because domestic abusers frequently manipulate victims by using threats of violence against family pets. The American Humane Association concurs, pointing out the fact that many battered women stay in abusive situations in order to protect children or pets.

17 states have adopted similar legislation, including Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont.

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