Important federal legislation has been introduced that positively affects the safety of domestic violence victims and their pets. This legislation is gaining ground in both the House of Representatives and the Senate! Please see the information below on what federal actions have been taken on the legislation thus far, and a simple summary of the bill along with links to more details.
Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act 2015
The Federal Pet and Women Safety Act of 2015, HR 1258, was Introduced March 4, 2015 by Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). It now has 115 Democratic CoSponsors and 27 Republican Co Sponsors including New Mexico’s Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham. The latest action on the bill was on March 31st, 2015 when it was referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.
An identical bill was introduced in the Senate S 1559 on 6/11/2015 by Senator Kelly Ayotte [R-NH]. This bill now has 12 Co-Sponsors including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The latest action on this bill was on 6/11/15 when it was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
Summary of the Bill:
Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit threats or acts of violence against a person’s pet under the offenses of stalking and interstate violation of a protection order. Defines “pet” to mean a domesticated animal that is kept for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes.
Requires the “full amount of the victim’s losses” for purposes of restitution in domestic violence and stalking offenses to include any costs incurred for veterinary services relating to physical care for the victim’s pet.
Directs the Department of Agriculture to award grants to eligible entities to carry out programs to provide specified housing assistance, support services, and training of relevant stakeholders to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking and their pets.
Expresses the sense of Congress that states should encourage the inclusion of protections against violent or threatening acts against the pet of the person in domestic violence protection orders.
Full details from Congress.gov:
H.R.1258 – Pet and Women Safety Act of 2015
Information and resources from the Animal Welfare Institute: