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House Protects Victims of Domestic Violence and Beloved Family Pets

The Humane Society of the United States, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance Applaud Vote

The Virginia House passed legislation to strengthen the state’s protections for victims of domestic violence and their beloved family pets. House Bill 972, sponsored by Delegate Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge, will authorize courts to grant care and custody of a family pet to petitioners of protective orders and passed unanimously with bipartisan support. Supporters of the legislation provided the following statements:

Laura Donahue, Virginia state director for The HSUS said, “We applaud the Virginia House of Delegates for advancing this critical bill to protect Virginia’s pets and their families and we call upon the Senate to send ensure passage of this life-saving bill.”
Kristine Hall, policy director, with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance said, “House Bill 972 offers critical protections for victims of domestic violence by addressing a tactic commonly used by abusers to terrorize and control victims – making threats against  beloved family pets. We are thankful to sponsor Delegate Cline for championing this bill that will enhance safety for victims and add needed accountability for abusers."

Delegate Cline said, “As a former prosecutor of domestic violence, I have seen firsthand the hesitation of victims to leave their abusers without their family pet. This important bill will help provide victims with the security they need to take that important step and successfully escape an abusive relationship.”

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 240-672-8397; ksanderson@humanesociety.org