Domestic abusers will often threaten to harm pets as a means of keeping victims close. Now, thanks to a new law passed earlier this year, Texas domestic abuse victims can include their pets in protective orders. The law uproots a significant barrier that can keep victims near their abusers.
The law's passage is due in large part to Patt Nordyke of the Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies, who kept pushing even when encountering incredulity from legislators. The new law, he explains, will protect both pet owners and their pets.
“If you've ever had an animal that you really loved and somebody threatened to kill it, imagine the impact it would have on you,” Nordyke told KUT. “And this is in addition to the fact that the people whose pets are being threatened are also being abused and beaten.”
More below the jump.The law took effect in September. Nordyke and TFACS fought for eight years in a climate where few would take them seriously. “It's difficult to get animal bills passed in the legislature,” Nordyke said. “I had an aide say 'Oh, yeah, I read this, it said pets,' in a dismissive manner. We had a cheat sheet with us and I said, 'Read the bottom line to me,' and the bottom line said, 'This bill says pets in protective orders, but it also protects people.'”
TFACS is now building a database of animal shelters and foster families so that victims leaving abusers have a good place to move their animals, even if temporarily.
Isn't it refreshing when the Texas Legislature passes a common-sense, helpful law?
Here's KUT's report on it: