Protecting the Animals of Victims of Domestic Violence

A Safe Place for Your Pet When You Are the Victim of Domestic Violence

If you own a pet, chances are that animal is a cherished member of your family. If you are a victim of domestic violence, one of your concerns in seeking shelter or legal protection may center around what will happen to your pet if you have to leave the marital home. Studies confirm that this is an important factor in the decision to leave a relationship where there is physical abuse. One study found that nearly half (48%) of all domestic violence victims put off getting out of a dangerous relationship because they were worried about the safety of a pet. Another study found that more than seven out of ten battered women told authorities that their partner had either harmed or killed a pet, or threatened to do so. Though some states have enacted laws to address the situation, the best option remains finding a shelter that will care for your pet until you can get back on your feet.

Shelters for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims

As a general rule, domestic violence shelters cannot accommodate pets. In response, so-called “safe havens for pets” have opened up across the United States. In New Jersey, victims of domestic violence can secure a safe place for a pet at Shelter Our Pets. Shelter Our Pets offers care with a foster family or in a local kennel, so that people suffering from physical violence don’t have to give up a beloved animal or, worse yet, leave the pet with the abuser. The non-profit agency is working toward creating pet-friendly housing where victims of domestic violence can find safety and be with their pets. Shelter Our Pets provides a wide range of services, so that pet owner can rest assured that a pet is being well cared for—the agency offers medical care, food, toys and even obedience training, as well as boarding and fostering.

New Jersey Protects Pets in Domestic Violence Situations

On January 17, 2012, Governor Christie signed the Domestic Violence Pet Protection Law . The law authorizes courts to include pets in domestic violence restraining orders. The court is now allowed to enter an order “prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with any animal owed, possessed, leased, kept or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household.”

Contact Our Office

To schedule a free, 30 minute telephone consultation to discuss your concerns, send us an e-mail or call our office at 201-343-0078. All calls and e-mails are returned within 24 hours. We’ll be at your side every step of the way.

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