MARSHFIELD (CBS) – An eight-year-old lab mix is the poster boy for a new state law.

What was going on inside Panzer’s home was bad enough that his owner fled to a shelter and filed a restraining order to protect him. He’s the first dog covered by the new law recognizing a link between domestic violence and animal abuse.

“He’s a good dog, he didn’t deserve that,” the abuse victim tells WBZ-TV.

Panzer’s now safe with a foster family.

“It has given me 100 percent piece of mind,” she says.

“Animals are often used as a tool for emotional abuse,” says Marshfield Police Chief Phil Tavares. “The batterer, the abuser will use an animal to seek revenge on or try to control one of the victims.”

It happens far too often. More than 70-percent of abused women say their abuser either threatened their pet or actually hurt the animal. Police say that’s why many victims don’t leave.

Officers hope the new law will change that, empowering victims to leave and giving their pets a safe haven.

Panzer and his owner were reunited on Thursday.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports


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