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Proposed Law Would Protect Pets From Domestic Abusers

Animals Often Hurt Or Killed To Intimidate Human Victims, Advocates Say

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Domestic violence victims are calling for a new law that would allow them to get a restraining order to protect their pets from their abusers.

Studies have found many perpetrators abuse or actually kill pets to intimidate victims into staying in a violent relationship. Megan Senatori of Madison runs a program that provides shelter for pets when a victim gets a restraining order against their abuser. But no such programs exist in rural communities. Senatori recounted the story of a woman in northern Wisconsin who left her pet at home when she fled her abuser, something she said is not unusual.

“Her batterer tracked her down and sent her photographs of him cutting off the ears of her dog with gardening shears,” Senatori said. “She left and she went back and the advocate who had been working with her had no idea of what happened with that particular situation. So this legislation will save lives.”

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If the new law is approved, Wisconsin would join 29 other states that have already passed such laws.