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Could Ohio Domestic Violence Protection Orders Include the Protection of the Family Pet?

In June 2014, the Ohio Senate passed SB 177, which introduces legislation that would amend Ohio’s domestic protection order laws to include the protection of the family pet. The bill is currently being reviewed by the Ohio House of Representatives. The new law would add “companion animal” to what the protective order can protect. The new language will allow the court to protect the victim’s animal from any abuse as well.

According to the American Humane Society, “71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims.”

The protection order granted by the court may include any companion animal that is in the complainant’s or alleged victim’s residence and may issue additional orders as it considers appropriate for the protection of the companion animal, including ordering the removal of a companion animal, or depriving an alleged batterer from seeing the animal or having any contact with the animal. The alleged batterer would not even be able to threaten the companion animal.  Essentially, this proposed new law establishes a restraining order for the victim’s pet.

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