A proposal at the Capitol would extend domestic abuse restraining orders to family pets.
Victims of domestic abuse can already file a restraining order against their attacker. However, State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) says in some cases, victims may avoid doing that to protect a pet. Risser says few domestic shelters will allow animals, and some victims may refuse to leave home because their pets will be left behind.
Risser is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow pets to be included in a restraining order. Doing so would grant them additional protections and potentially keep an abuser from harming the pet to get back at their victim.
Liz Marquardt with the Task Force on Family Violence says aggression towards pets is a common tactic of abusers. She says the cruelty is used to manipulate and intimidate a victim. Marquardt was among several witnesses at a Capitol hearing Tuesday, who talked about cases where pets were hurt or even killed by an abuser.
A Senate committee is currently considering the legislation.