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Animal rights advocates are pushing hard for a new law to protect pets in domestic violence situations.
As WFTV's Jamie Holmes reports, victims are staying in violent situations longer because their abusers are holding power over their pets.
He's pushing legislators across the state to take up Bill 288. It allows victims of domestic violence to take their pet with them when they escape the abuse.
"Pets are considered property. The judge will protect you, your children, the judge will not protect your dog," Heine said.
The bill is designed to help abuse victims get out of the house. Right now 40 percent of female domestic violence victims continue to stay in the home because they're worried about what would happen to their pet.
And 71 percent of abused women report their batterer had injured or killed their pet in an effort to control them.
Orange County investigators see dozens of cases a year like the one involving Harley Hughey, who text messaged his girlfriend while he killed her pet rabbit.
"He ended up strangling and drowning the rabbit as a way to get back to keep her in the relationship," said Kat Kennedy of Orange Co. Animal Control.
Still, Bill 288 doesn't have a voice. It failed to pick up a sponsor in the House and died in committee last year. There is some opposition concerned that if domestic violence laws are opened up, other changes to the books would happen.
Still, Heine is reaching out to every single legislator, trying to get one to bite.
"They can't go to a court of law and say here's my bruises, give me protection. Somebody has to stand up for the little animals and the big animals," Heine said.
Bill 288 still does not have a sponsor. A draft form was filed at the beginning of the month, which means a legislator can still pick it up for the upcoming session.
Originally posted by ICEKOHLD
awesome. this is just great!
i've known a couple women who wouldn't leave their abusive mates on account of the family pet. i know one who fled and took the dog...and he called the cops on her for stealing the dog and the cops made her return the dog...which he then beat (thankfully... the dog is fine and karma taught him a MUCH nastier lesson not long after).
this is an awesome idea. i hope every state catches on. sometimes...that pet is the only true love in a relationship.
now i will say this: if he hits you more than once and you stay with him...there is a very real possibility that you deserve it. not that i think anyone should be beaten...but...if you don't get away from your abuser when you are fully capable of it...maybe you like the abuse?
me personally...if i knew that someone wanted to hurt me when they got upset...i probably wouldn't be around that person very long. that is just me, though...edit on 12/24/11 by ICEKOHLD because: (no reason given)