The new bill H.R.5267, also known as The Pets and Women’s Safety (PAWS) Act would increase protection for the companion animals of women in domestic abuse or stalking situations. The bill was forwarded to the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on the Judiciary this month. If passed into law, H.R.5267 would include measures to set up a grant program that would provide emergency shelter to the pets of victims. The PAWS Act would also include the cost of veterinary care as a damage for which victims could legally claim restitution.
The connection between animal abuse and domestic abuse is well documented. Abusers might physically harm a pet to “punish” the partner or threaten to kill or maim the pet as a means of controlling a partner or family member. Other times violence towards a person’s companion animal occurs as revenge for a divorce, separation or refusal to participate in a relationship.