Escrito por Nuria Querol i Viñas. Publicado en News in English.

Washington, Nebraska, Iowa, South Carolina, Hawaii and Wyoming have become the most recent states to introduce bills to include pets in domestic violence protection orders. Several bills have unique language that does not appear in other state bills or laws.

In Washington State, HB 1148 replaces a 2008 bill that died in committee.

It would include pets among the petitioner’s personal effects and would also prohibit the respondent from coming within a specified distance of specified locations where the pet is regularly found.  It would allow judges to grant the petitioner exclusive custody or control of pets belonging to the petitioner, respondent or a minor child in the home, and prohibit acts of violence, harm or interference with these animals. Violation is a gross misdemeanor. Twenty-seven legislators introduced the bill, which is currently in the Judiciary Committee.

Nebraska’s Legislative Bill 83 and Iowa’s House File 32 would allow judges to issue protection orders directing the care, custody or control of domestic animals kept by either party or a minor child in the household, and enjoining the respondent from harming or killing such animals.

In South Carolina, HB 3117 would allow the court to prohibit harm or harassment to the petitioner’s pet and order temporary possession of the animal to the petitioner. This replaces a similar bill that died in committee in the 2008 Legislature.

Hawaii’s SB 1086 would allow family court judges to grant exclusive care of pets to a party, and to enjoin the respondent from visiting, taking, concealing, threatening, physically abusing or disposing of a pet in the exclusive care of the protected party.

Wyoming’s HB 206 allows the court to direct the care, custody and control of any animal owned or kept by either party or a minor in the household. A new provision allows local law enforcement officers responding to requests for assistance in domestic violence cases to provide or arrange for temporary care, custody and control of these animals.

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