Bill Would Provide Court Protection For Family Pets

By Bill Shields, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – For many of us, the family pet is more than just a pet, it’s a real family member. So it’s no surprise that there’s a bill on Beacon Hill that would provide court protection for the family pet.

“Animals are so beloved, that sometimes an abuser can use the pet as a tool,” says Sen. Katherine Clark of Melrose. Sen. Clark has now sponsored a bill that would allow the family pet to be protected by restraining orders.

The MSPCA is on board. “A batterer uses various ways to control the victim, and animals become part of the means to abuse,” says Kara Holmquist of the MSPCA.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

Sue Webb of Wellesley knows all too well how the family pet can be used as a pawn in an abusive relationship. She was testifying on Beacon Hill today about how, years ago, when her husband was abusing her, part of his reign of terror was threatening her pets. “There was frequently a direct threat at my dogs and cats, sometimes he said he’d take them for a ride, and I’d never see them again.”

Sen. Clark says many abuse victims don’t leave the home, fearing for the safety of their pets.

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