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April 30, 2010

Ariz. Legislators Unanimously Pass Bill to Protect Human and Animal Survivors of Domestic Violence

PHOENIX — The Humane Society of the United States expresses its thanks to Arizona legislators for passing SB 1266, which was amended to include protections for human and animal survivors of domestic violence. It is now awaiting Gov. Jan Brewer's signature.

The bill would allow judges hearing domestic violence cases to award the victim sole custody of the family pets. Domestic violence experts note that an abusive spouse is motivated by the need for power and control. Threatening the family's pet often causes people to remain in abusive households, for fear of what might happen to the animal if they leave. A study found that in households where family pets have been abused, 65 percent of women put themselves in danger by staying in order to protect their pets. 

"The Humane Society of the United States urges Governor Brewer to protect all survivors of domestic violence by signing this important bill," said Kari Nienstedt, The HSUS' Arizona state director. "The HSUS also thanks the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Pima County Attorney's Office for a stellar job helping to gather a groundswell of support for this bill."

Also key in supporting the bill were the following legislators: Reps. Kyrsten Sinema, D-15, Rich Crandall, R-19, Nancy Young Wright, D-26, Nancy K. Barto, R-7, and Sens. Linda Gray, R-10, and Paula Aboud, D-28.

Research has shown a link between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence. For more information about the connection between human violence and animal abuse, click here.

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 The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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