Legislation To Protect Pets In Domestic Disputes Passes Ohio Senate
Senate Bill 177 empowers domestic abuse victims to leave volatile environments

Columbus—Legislation sponsored by Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) giving judges the authority to include pets in protection orders for victims of domestic violence unanimously passed the Ohio Senate today. The purpose of Senate Bill 177 is to empower domestic abuse victims to leave volatile environments and seek safety without worrying about the well-being of their pets.

“It is important to recognize that these animals are not considered a piece of property,” said Senator Skindell. “Most people in our society consider their pet to be a companion or member of the family. Therefore, one can see how an abuser would use that animal to strengthen their power of control over the victim.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), seventy-one percent of pet-owning women entering domestic abuse violence shelters report that their abuser killed, harmed, or threatened their animal.  Too often, a woman will not leave an abusive situation if she has to leave a pet behind unprotected.

To date twenty-four other states have passed similar measures to not only protect pets but provide support to victims of domestic violence who are pet owners.

“By passing this legislation, we are sending a message to abusers that they do not have the right to assert their authority over domestic abuse victims by harming their pets,” said Skindell.

Supporters of Senate Bill 177 include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio, Ohio Federated Humane Societies, Ohio Voters for Companion Animals and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Senate Bill 177 will now move to the Ohio House for consideration.


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