Madison – Today State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) announced that he has introduced a bill with strong bi-partisan support that will help victims of domestic violence by taking away leverage that the perpetrators can hold over a victim by threatening harm to a victim’s pet.
Under current law, a victim of abuse, harassment, or threats may obtain a temporary restraining order against the perpetrator.
“This bill will allow a court to include in any such restraining order a provision pertaining to household pets. For example, the court could order that the perpetrator refrain from removing, harming, mistreating, or disposing of a household pet,” said Carpenter.
In the State Assembly, Rep. Andre Jacque (R-DePere) will be taking the lead by introducing a companion Assembly Bill.
“Abusers will hold things over the victim to control them, and one of the things they can go after is the victim’s dog or cat. Also, victims can be reluctant to leave or report a violent situation if they fear a pet will be retaliated against. The reluctance or inability to flee an abusive relationship places domestic-violence victims – and their children and pets – at a much greater risk,” said Carpenter.
Still, it is reported that many judges are reluctant to include animals in protection orders because the authority to do so is not spelled out in state law.
This bill would allow Wisconsin to join 28 other states that help protect victims of domestic abuse and other violence by shielding their pets from harm.