Pets and DV- report card

Pets and DV- report card

It is not surprising that there is regrettably sometimes a link between those who abuse their partners and their pets. It is sad to clear clients recall how their partners would hit their dog or cat…



“Domestic violence” includes conduct that is directed at a pet of a relevant person and is an animal violence offence or is a threat, made to a relevant person, to do anything to a pet of the person or another relevant person that, if done, would be an animal violence offence.

The legislation has a range of retrictions contained in any domestic violence order, but nothing specific about pets.


No specific mention of pets.


Pets are mentioned as an example as to what constitutes domestic violence:

wilful damage to the other person’s property;
Example of paragraph (b)—
wilfully injuring a defacto’s pet

There is no specific mention in examples of orders as to pets.


No specific mention of pets.


No specific mention of pets.


No specific mention of pets.


No specific mention of pets.


The defintion of “family and domestic violence” includes:

damaging the person’s property, including the injury or death of an animal that is the person’s property

There is no specific mention in examples of orders as to pets.
Information from the American Humane Association (equivalent to the RSPCA):

News from the US:

Research Finds Pet Abusers Are More Dangerous in Domestic Violence

An intriguing new research study is reporting that batterers who also abuse family pets use more forms of violence, demonstrate greater use of controlling behaviors and are more dangerous than batterers who do not abuse pets. Catherine A. Simmons of the University of Tennessee and Peter Lehmann of the University of Texas at Arlington conducted a study of 1,283 female pet owners in Texas domestic violence shelters. Of those who owned pets, 25 percent indicated their abuser committed some form of pet abuse. The pet-abusing batterers were more likely to use physical violence, sexual violence, marital rape, emotional violence and stalking to control and intimidate their victims. Simmons and Lehmann reported that men who abuse the family pet appear to be more dangerous, and the research indicates a need for domestic violence workers to address pet abuse within the context of assessment, treatment and safety planning.

Source: Simmons, C.A., & Lehmann, P. (2007). Exploring the link between pet abuse and controlling behaviors in violent relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(9), 1211-1222.

Legislative Update: More Laws Enacted to Include Pets in Protective Orders

California and Illinois have become the most recent states to enact legislation that enables judges to include pets in domestic violence protection orders. Illinois H.B. 9 was signed into law on Aug 17 and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed S.B. 353 on Sept. 11, which authorizes courts to order the petitioner to be granted exclusive care, custody or control of animals belonging to the petitioner, respondent or minor child and to order the respondent to stay away from the animal. These states join Maine, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Tennessee, Colorado and Nevada with laws including the pets of domestic violence victims, and/or their children, under protection coverage. Similar bills are pending in several other states.

In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law on May 4, 2007, Public Law 171-2007, which adds domestic violence animal cruelty to the state’s anti-cruelty statutes (IC 35-46-3-12.5). While not addressing protective orders, the new law makes it a Class D felony for a person to knowingly or intentionally kill a vertebrate animal with the intent to threaten, intimidate, coerce, harass or terrorize a family or household member.

Source of US news: (US) National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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