Domestic abuse pet protection bill passes Minn. Senate

Domestic abuse pet protection bill passes Minn. Senate
Photo by TheGiantVermin

A bill that includes pets in domestic abuse protections passed the Minnesota Senate Monday with a 59-7 vote.

The bill allows judges to include pets in the court protective orders. In the domestic abuse case, judges can determine who would care for the pet.

Sen. Sandy Pappas of St. Paul proposed the legislation. She says many abused women will stay in dangerous situations because of their companion animals.

"It takes away another barrier that prevents women from leaving their abuser," Pappas says.

She says the women are often very close to the pets and fearful to leave them in the hands of their abuser. Children in the situation can also be traumatized when they leave the pet behind.

Cyndi Cook, executive director of the Minn. Coalition for Battered Women, says abusers will often threaten to injure the pets if they leave.

"They threaten to abuse the pets to control the victims," she says. "This change really helps to clarify scope of courts authority with pets."

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