Madison – Today State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) and Representative André Jacque thanked their colleagues in the senate for passing a bill (SB 97) they co-authored 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.
“Domestic abuse is often as much about asserting control and leverage against a victim as it is physical violence. As a member of the Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse, this is priority legislation for me to help victims seek the safety and protection they need,” said Jacque.
Sen. Carpenter expressed his thanks to the domestic violence victims and advocates who came from all over the state to testify in favor of this bill. “They explained that victims’ reluctance or inability to flee an abusive relationship places domestic-violence victims – and their children and pets – at a much greater risk. Their stories of how their abusers tried to control them by threatening and harming a beloved cat or dog were greatly disturbing to hear, and I am grateful for their courage,” said Carpenter.
The bill now goes to the Assembly. If passed by the Assembly and enacted into law this will allow Wisconsin to join 28 other states that help protect victims of domestic abuse and other violence by shielding their pets from harm.