New law expands domestic violence protective orders to include pets
STATE HOUSE – The governor has signed into law legislation approved by the General Assembly to allow domestic violence protective orders to protect pets.
The legislation (2019-S 0225, 2019-H 5023), introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio and Rep. William W. O’Brien, expands Family Court jurisdiction to allow protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic abuse situations.
“There is a strong correlation between domestic abuse and animal abuse,” said President Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). “If someone is violent toward humans they are likely to be violent toward animals. This legislation will ensure pets are protected under the law from domestic abusers, just as humans are.”
Said Representative O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), “Often in cases of domestic violence, pets can be severely harmed by the abuser as well. Many states in the country already have laws that include pets in domestic violence protection orders. An innocent animal should not be allowed to be left with dangerous and violent abusers and I thank my colleagues for passing this bill that will protect our dear pets during domestic abuse situations.”
Both President Ruggerio and Representative O’Brien are longtime advocates for animal welfare. Last year, President Ruggerio sponsored a law requiring educational institutions that use dogs or cats for medical research to make those animals available for adoption when they are no longer useful for research. Representative O’Brien has previously sponsored an animal protection law that requires anyone entrusted with the care and control of an animal, such as a veterinarian or an animal shelter worker, to report any discovered instance of animal cruelty to the proper authorities.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903