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Oregon House of Representatives Approves Bill to Protect Human and Animal Survivors of Domestic Violence

SALEM, Ore. — The Humane Society of the United States praised the Oregon House of Representatives for passing SB 616, a bill to add companion, service and therapy animals to the Family Abuse Prevention Act. The bill was approved by a wide margin, 51 to 9, and gives Oregon courts the ability to provide for the safety of these animals in domestic violence restraining orders. It was passed by the Senate with a similarly wide margin, 28 to 2, at the beginning of May. Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, and Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, it now goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber for his consideration.

The critical link between domestic violence and cruelty to animals has been well established.  Studies show that many people 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.

Some Oregon judges have refused to provide for the welfare of survivors’ animals because they believed they lacked the statutory authority to do so. This addition to FAPA will clarify the law and thereby help protect Oregon families and pets. Arkansas, Maryland and Virginia passed similar laws in 2011, bringing the total number of states with similar legislation to 20. In each case, these bills passed with support from law enforcement, prosecutors, domestic violence survivors’ advocates, and the humane community.

“On behalf of its 152,000 supporters in Oregon, The Humane Society of the United States thanks the state House of Representatives for voting to protect all survivors of domestic violence, both human and animal, by passing this important bill,” said Scott Beckstead, The HSUS' Oregon senior state director. "The HSUS commends Senate Majority Leader Rosenbaum, Senators Prozanski and Jackie Dingfelder and Representative Barker for their leadership in shepherding this bill through the legislature.”

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.