It just got easier for domestic violence survivors to keep their pets safe.
That’s because the newly signed PAWS Act empowers survivors with the support they need to protect their pets while leaving an abuser.
This new law has life-saving potential. Studies show that many domestic abusers intimidate their partners by threatening or harming their pets. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), around 25% of survivors have returned to an abuser out of concern for their pet’s safety, and around one third of survivors delay leaving an abuser for an average of two years to keep their pets safe.
So what exactly will the PAWS Act do for survivors and their pets?
- It will be easier to find safe shelter for your pets. The PAWS Act established a federal grant program to help survivors find safe shelter for their pets. This includes things like foster care, as well as helping domestic violence shelters expand to include housing for pets.
- Stalking laws now apply to your pets too. Stalking is now federally defined as “conduct that causes a person to experience a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury to his or her pet.”
- Your pet’s vet costs could be covered. In domestic abuse cases, the PAWS Act requires restitution to include the survivor’s vet payments, if there are any.
No one should have to feel stuck in a dangerous situation out of fear for their pet’s safety.
Help is available for you, and Fido too. If you are a survivor and worry about keeping yourself and your pet safe, please call our 24-Hour Helpline at 425-746-1940.