May 5, 2011
N.J. Assembly Judiciary Committee Passes Bill to Strengthen Domestic Violence Laws
TRENTON, N.J. — The Humane Society of the United States applauds the New Jersey Assembly’s Judiciary Committee for approving A1633, a bill that will allow courts to include animals in domestic violence restraining orders. The bill was sponsored by Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Connie Wagner, D-Bergen, and Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk, R-Bergen.
The HSUS now encourages the Judiciary Committee in the Senate to post that chamber’s version of the bill for a committee vote. The senate version, S540 is sponsored by Sen. Minority Leader Thomas Kean Jr., R- Morris, and Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May.
Studies show that many victims of domestic violence stay in abusive relationships out of fear for their animals’ safety. Violent abusers often target their victim’s animals as a means of maintaining control over their victim. Permitting judges to prohibit abusers from contact with animals protects those animals and provides peace of mind to human survivors of domestic violence, since abusers often threaten, injure or kill family pets.
“The Humane Society of the United States expresses its gratitude to the Assembly Judiciary Committee for voting to protect all survivors of domestic violence by approving this important bill and sending it to the Assembly for a floor vote,” said Kathleen Schatzmann, The HSUS' New Jersey state director. ‘We are especially grateful to Deputy Speaker Wagner and Assemblywoman Vandervalk for their leadership in gathering support for this bill.”
These bills have been endorsed by numerous state domestic violence organizations such as the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, the Domestic Violence Advocacy Center, SAFE in Hunterdon, Shelter Our Sisters, Woman Space, The Coalition against Rape and Abuse, and the Resource Center for Women and Their Families. Also in support are the NJSPCA, the N.J. Certified Animal Control Officers Association and several animal shelters which take in animals from domestic violence cases such as St. Hubert’s, the Monmouth County SPCA, the Animal Welfare Association, and Seer Farms. New Jersey-based animal protection groups People for Animals and The Animal Protection League of New Jersey support this legislation, as well as national ones including the ASPCA, the Animal Welfare Institute, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Animal Legal Defense Fund, American Humane Association and The HSUS.
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.