For over 4 years now there has been a strong push by domestic violence and welfare advocates to create a bill that would produce stronger laws to protect victims of domestic violence by offering those same protections to their pets.
The coalition they created includes organizations like Nestle Purina Pet Care, Bayer Corporation, Pet Partners, Urban Resource Institute and a few others. Their goal was to pass the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act (H.R. 909, S.322) – which they have no successfully done.
There is a correlation between domestic violence and the abuse of animals with almost 85% of victims of abuse admitting their partners abused their pets as well.
So why do women stay?
Because they cannot leave their pets behind with the abuser knowing what will happen – and because very few shelters for abused women offer housing for pets.
But it looks like change is on the way!
About The PAWS Act
The Pets and Women Safety Act (PAWS) has just been signed into law by President Trump as part of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill).
Not only did he sign the law – it had received bipartisan support, so people really do care!
To clarify, there is already a law in place in just over 30 states but this new bill offers several improvements and a larger range of protections.
The new law states that it will protect:
- Victims of sexual assault
- Victims of domestic violence
- Dating violence
- Emotional or psychological trauma caused by acts of violence or threats of violence against their pets
The new law also offers an amended definition of stalking which now includes “conduct that causes a person to experience a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury to his or her pet.”
This allows law enforcement to do what is needed to keep victims and pets protected from their abuser.
Pet Friendly Domestic Violence Shelters
It is estimate that less than 3% of all domestic violence shelters offer facilities for pets. Below are a few of the ones we could find that will house abuse victims and their pets.
Take a moment to read the Press Release from Purina about this effort and how they were involved with making this happen.