The beating of an animal is ordinarily treated as a misdemeanor, Id. Maine has adopted a similar approach, but does not elevate the level of the offense or the applicable penalty. This is punishable as a Class D crime; Id. A Class D crime is punishable by not more than twelve months imprisonment. A Class C crime is punishable by not more than five years imprisonment.
The brevity of this section demonstrates that the vast majority of states have yet to adopt any penal measures that address animal abuse as a method of domestic violence. At the same time, it is encouraging that two states have done so, particularly when these states are considered alongside the substantially larger number that have incorporated animal abuse into protective orders.
One of the most significant areas of progress building upon the research surveyed in Part I has consisted of the availability and scope of court-issued protective orders. Protective orders may be granted within the civil process through stand-alone legal proceedings, or as a component of divorce or criminal domestic abuse proceedings. The specific relief that may be granted in a protective order depends largely on the state in which it is sought and varies from case to case as the contents of an order are meant to represent individualized relief based on the facts of the situation and the wishes of the victim.
Fundamentally, a protective order may prohibit an alleged offender from making any contact with the victim. Part III, infra , discusses the contents and benefits of protective orders in detail. Protective orders are a common feature of the overall legal approach toward domestic violence. Given that the infrastructure and legislation for such orders is already in place in most states, the incorporation of animals into protective order provisions typically involves a minor modification to existing statutes, and several states have introduced such amendments.
To date, a total of twenty-five states, in addition to Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, have enacted provisions that account for animals in protective orders. States that incorporate animals into protective order considerations mainly do so through two methods: by treating acts of animal abuse as a basis for the imposition or violation of a protective order availability , and by including an animal within the protections of such an order when granted to a human victim scope.
This recognition of the harm to the human victim means that an act of animal abuse committed with the specific intent of harming the human victim may be valid grounds for the court to issue a protective order. Broadly speaking, states that treat animal abuse as a possible basis for a protective order do so by expanding the definition of domestic violence to include particular acts against animals. Note that this is not equivalent to designating animal abuse as a domestic violence offense; rather, animal abuse is included in the statutory section dealing exclusively with protective orders and other related measures.
These sections typically do not deal with penalization. This label may attach to a variety of offenses, including arson, trespassing, and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. This definition applies to both protective orders and the criminal code. Clearly, the crimes listed under this statute are not capable of inflicting equal harm. The fact that trespassing is treated as a potential domestic violence offense despite not involving actual harm to the victim only strengthens the sense of incongruity surrounding the exclusion of animal abuse from such statutes.
This designation has nothing to do with criminal sanctions, instead serving only to allow for the imposition of a protective order and related remedial measures. The second method by which animals are incorporated into protective order statutes is by including them within the protective scope of the order. Statutes authorizing such protection are more numerous than those treating animal abuse as a basis for the issuance of a protective order.
Under this approach, courts are authorized to order an abuser not to abuse, mistreat, or otherwise harm an animal that belongs to the victim or that resides in her household, and to grant exclusive custody or possession of the animal to the victim. Notably, the same California provision also affords relief to elders and minor children.
See id. Colorado permits courts to make specific arrangements for the possession and care of the animal, Colo. Colorado adopts both approaches, by both affording affirmative protection to animals and by designating acts against an animal as a violation of an issued protective order. Several other states have enacted provisions to similar effect.
See Nev. Both methods of accommodating animals into protective orders are vitally important. Neglecting to treat domestic violence animal cruelty as a basis for a protective order denies the victim the possibility of injunctive relief and leaves her vulnerable to ongoing domestic violence for longer than necessary.
As with a court order, the violation of a protective order exposes the offender to a range of sanctions, including contempt of court, fines, civil sanctions, and incarceration. More importantly, these legal consequences may be imposed much more readily than would be possible under an ordinary criminal prosecution. This aspect lends a valuable punitive aspect to protective orders, particularly for states that do not contain provisions penalizing domestic violence animal cruelty.
Research also suggests that domestic abuse through an animal typically represents an early stage in abusive behavior—making the possibility of early intervention in such cases particularly valuable. Research shows that protective orders are effective: the subjects of protective orders report that they feel substantially safer, and the frequency and severity of abuse fall significantly. States should ensure not only that protective orders are available for animals, but also that they are available because of animals.
Affording animals and, therefore, human victims protection within an order recognizes the harm that animal abuse can cause; ignoring the same fact for the purposes of imposing an order is inconsistent and leaves victims unnecessarily vulnerable. Shelters and professionals have implemented initiatives to facilitate the detection of domestic and animal abuse, protect human and animal victims being harmed, and encourage the adoption of such measures through awareness and education.
Given the manner in which the continued presence of an animal in the home leaves the victim vulnerable to ongoing abuse and control even after she leaves the home, Flynn, supra note 11, at ; see also Gilbreath, supra note , at 5—6; Carol D. Committee Newsl. Practice Section, Chi. An example of a shelter specifically catering to the animals of abused women is the Ahimsa House, located in Atlanta, Georgia. One possible reason for the lack of adoption of this seemingly natural approach is that the accommodation of animals may present legal and logistical difficulties.
It is often legally problematic for a victim to enter a shelter or safe-haven program with her animal because animals, as property, are typically considered communal property: that is, the victim and her abuser would have equal ownership rights over the animal. Some shelters have responded to this obstacle by facilitating ways for victims to either demonstrate unitary ownership or challenge joint ownership of the animal.
Moreover, attempting to provide for animals in a shelter meant for humans may be complicated and expensive. While an efficient and logical solution would be for dedicated animal shelters to provide their services to safe-haven programs, many such shelters that receive governmental funding are required to maintain public records—which may allow for an abuser to track down his victim or, at least, her companion animal.
One prominent approach is cross-reporting the abuse of victims among agencies, shelters, and other organizations responsible for their welfare. Reporting the mistreatment of one victim whose abuse has been detected may expose a hidden system of abuse involving multiple victims It may also expose abuse perpetrated by an individual other than the primary abuser. Although current cross-reporting measures tend to revolve around child abuse, states have extended cross-reporting to include adult victims of domestic violence.
Finally, some researchers have sought to raise awareness about the link. For example, the Humane Society of the United States launched the First Strike initiative, designed to educate prosecutors, law enforcement, shelter workers, veterinarians, and the general public about the significance and potential implications of animal cruelty, particularly when perpetrated by children or in a context of other domestic violence.
The American Humane Association founded and operates the National Resource Center on the Link Between Violence to People and Animals, which trains professional groups across the country on how to address the link and provides access to important resources. Research suggests that such humane education can be effective. Published by Independence Educational Publishers, Used Condition: Used; Good Soft cover. Save for Later. All orders are dispatched as swiftly as possible! Buy with confidence!. Bookseller Inventory Ask Seller a Question. About this title Synopsis: Domestic violence affects around , people in England and Wales every year.
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