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house Bill H.R. 909

PAWS Act: Expanding Protections for the Pets of Domestic Violence Victims

Argument in favor

Victims of domestic violence shouldn’t have to worry about threats or acts of violence against their pets, and this bill would provide protections and resources for victims and their pets.

OlderNWiser's Opinion
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10/28/2017
Abusers commonly harm pets as part of the control they wish to exert and it’s common for abusers to torture and kill pets to terrorize women and children. As a crazy cat lady now and someone who has been inseparable from her Doberman Pinschers in the past, I know that pets have definitely become family, a great comfort and support to traumatized women and children. As a former domestic violence counselor I know that, just as women stay with their abusers to protect their children who would be sent on unsupervised visits by the court, they stay to protect their beloved pets. This is a big yes.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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10/28/2017
I am not entirely sure from the negative responses that people understand the purpose of this bill. A. No animals are not protected in all of our states. B . The animals beings hurt in these cases would be a misdemeanor at best and C. The point is imho that hurting the animals is being used as a weapon against the pets owner in a case of abuse. Yes of course the animals which I acknowledge aren’t people need more protection as they are meaningful members of an abuse victims family and can be used as leverage against them or vengeance. I have no children and would be reluctant to leave my pets in a domestic violence situation unless I knew they were safe.
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andrewn78's Opinion
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10/28/2017
I read some of the "nay" comments and it's sad to read how some people don't care about animals. I am a mental health therapist and many of my clients have or have had a companion animal. If they are in a DV situation I want them to be able to take their companion animal with them to the shelter to: 1) nurture and support my client through such a different time and 2) help progress the recovering. Also, it is our moral (and I believe should be our legal) responsibility to take care of the welfare of our pets and those pets abused and neglected. We humans think we are more superior and smarter but look at how well nature flows together when we actually get out of the way - maybe we're not so smart. But we are "smart" enough to screw things up (the planet, lacking compassion for others, and yes, not taking care of a vulnerable population including animals). I am for taking care of animals and protecting their rights to a clean planet, safe living area and peaceful existence - at least as much as we have the power to help.
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Argument opposed

There’s no guarantee that expanded protections for the pets of domestic violence victims would ultimately protect more animals or their owners.

Hayes's Opinion
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10/28/2017
This marginalizes the 40% of domestic violence victims that are men.
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operaman's Opinion
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10/28/2017
Who would ever think of such a proposal? Hell no! Katherine Clark needs to get a @real job,” and stop proposing “social justice” for pets of victims. This is a waste of my time and taxpayers money.
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Gary's Opinion
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10/28/2017
Any animal abuser must be severely punished: I fully agree with this. I have issues with any law that by its name implies that only women are subject to damages due to domestic violence against pets. This is basically a form of passive sexual discrimination that holds men as emotionally and rationally inferior; if not CHANGE ITS NAME!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Agriculture
      Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedFebruary 7th, 2017

What is House Bill H.R. 909?

This bill — the Pet and Women Safety Act of 2017 (or PAWS Act) — would seek to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence from trauma caused by violence against their pets. Existing federal domestic violence protections would be expanded to include threats or acts of violence against a victim’s pet, and grant funding would go to programs that offer shelter and housing assistance for victims with pets.

The full amount of the victim’s losses incurred providing veterinary and physical care for their pet would be required to be included in restitution for domestic violence and stalking offenses.

Impact

Victims of domestic violence and their pets; programs that provide shelter and housing to victims and their pets; and federal agencies.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 909

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) introduced this bill to expand protections for victims of domestic violence to include threats or violence against their pets, and to provide grants to programs that provide housing and shelter for victims and their animals:

“Sadly, one in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. Pets often become a member of the family, and the idea of leaving a beloved pet behind in a dangerous  situation is unthinkable. By ensuring that people experiencing domestic abuse don’t have to make the decision between finding safety for themselves or staying behind to protect their pet, we can empower survivors to seek help.”

Lead cosponsor Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) added:

“Re-introducing the PAWS Act with my colleague, Katherine, is an important first step toward helping victims of domestic violence. Too often, men and women in abusive relationships will not seek the help they need for fear of the harm that could befall their pet. We're working to make sure that every resource is available for those who need to flee an abusive relationship along with their companion animals.”

This legislation has the support of 240 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including 184 Democrats and 56 Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: nitikornlstock / iStock)

AKA

Pet and Women Safety Act of 2017

Official Title

To protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence from emotional and psychological trauma caused by acts of violence or threats of violence against their pets.

    Abusers commonly harm pets as part of the control they wish to exert and it’s common for abusers to torture and kill pets to terrorize women and children. As a crazy cat lady now and someone who has been inseparable from her Doberman Pinschers in the past, I know that pets have definitely become family, a great comfort and support to traumatized women and children. As a former domestic violence counselor I know that, just as women stay with their abusers to protect their children who would be sent on unsupervised visits by the court, they stay to protect their beloved pets. This is a big yes.
    Like (202)
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    Share
    This marginalizes the 40% of domestic violence victims that are men.
    Like (61)
    Follow
    Share
    I am not entirely sure from the negative responses that people understand the purpose of this bill. A. No animals are not protected in all of our states. B . The animals beings hurt in these cases would be a misdemeanor at best and C. The point is imho that hurting the animals is being used as a weapon against the pets owner in a case of abuse. Yes of course the animals which I acknowledge aren’t people need more protection as they are meaningful members of an abuse victims family and can be used as leverage against them or vengeance. I have no children and would be reluctant to leave my pets in a domestic violence situation unless I knew they were safe.
    Like (112)
    Follow
    Share
    I read some of the "nay" comments and it's sad to read how some people don't care about animals. I am a mental health therapist and many of my clients have or have had a companion animal. If they are in a DV situation I want them to be able to take their companion animal with them to the shelter to: 1) nurture and support my client through such a different time and 2) help progress the recovering. Also, it is our moral (and I believe should be our legal) responsibility to take care of the welfare of our pets and those pets abused and neglected. We humans think we are more superior and smarter but look at how well nature flows together when we actually get out of the way - maybe we're not so smart. But we are "smart" enough to screw things up (the planet, lacking compassion for others, and yes, not taking care of a vulnerable population including animals). I am for taking care of animals and protecting their rights to a clean planet, safe living area and peaceful existence - at least as much as we have the power to help.
    Like (53)
    Follow
    Share
    There are so many times when an abused person won’t get the help they need for fear of leaving their pets behind. This is good for the pets, but also for the people who love them and need their comfort.
    Like (45)
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    Domestic abusers will use anything and anyone they can to harm their target. Many times the pet is the only friend the abused has and hurting or killing it causes them most pain.
    Like (33)
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    People use pets just as they use children in domestic violence. Please protect them
    Like (32)
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    Who would ever think of such a proposal? Hell no! Katherine Clark needs to get a @real job,” and stop proposing “social justice” for pets of victims. This is a waste of my time and taxpayers money.
    Like (29)
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    It starts with a sick individual, threatening to hurt or injure a pet. But I can see, that for many, they will not stop with pets in order to control someone. On the surface, this Bill seems like a nut-job proposition. But, I believe, if authorities are given the governing authority to intervene early enough. The damage a disturbed individual can commit, it cut short. In my opinion, this Bill should pass.
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    But make it a felony.
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    Any animal abuser must be severely punished: I fully agree with this. I have issues with any law that by its name implies that only women are subject to damages due to domestic violence against pets. This is basically a form of passive sexual discrimination that holds men as emotionally and rationally inferior; if not CHANGE ITS NAME!
    Like (25)
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    I must agree with this simply due to the fact that animals cannot protect themselves and as our responsibility s must do so under the safety of law... however I also must say that this is a very sneaky bill, if you look at the bills description you’ll notice if also implies rules for women not just pets, and yet the title of the bill as about pets. Just be careful and know what your voting for.
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    Domestic abusers often harm or kill pets to further hurt the abused partner. We must protect pets along with their humans!
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    It is known that pets who live in homes where domestic violence occurs are also recipients of cruel and violent acts by the abuser. Often times to get back at the abused or to control the abused. Many abused individuals won't leave their abuser because they are fearful of what their pet will be subjected to. This proposal will be of some help to those who are being abused.
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    Why are we creating shelters for dogs who are victims of domestic abuse before even acknowledging that around half of domestic abuse victims are men?
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    I am very much in favor of this bill but have a slight issue with the title. I would change the W from women to Wounded. This way there is no discrimination against the men or the women who suffer from domestic abuse either directed against them or their companion animals
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    Both the abused human and the abused pet need to be offered safety. Allowing pets in shelters would prevent the abused from making a horrible choice of leaving them behind to suffer their fate.
    Like (10)
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    We don’t need it and we can’t afford it. Why the hell would we want MORE government in our lives!? It drives up the cost of everything and allows for abuse of government employees and infringement on rights.
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    There are three groups which depend upon others for their care and well being since they are unable to provide it for themselves: children, the elderly, and animals. Part of our moral character as a nation is reflected by our treatment of these. They must be protected from being preyed upon. Pets become family members and need protection. You would never knowingly kill or harm a child to exact some kind of twisted “payment” from another. Pets deserve the same protection. Animal cruelty is in general unlawful. This bill strengthens that commitment.
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    It is vital for pets to be protected when families are fleeing danger, they are family too!
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