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Federal bill would protect pets of domestic abuse victims

March 6, 2015

BOSTON (AP) — Supporters of federal legislation that would extend domestic violence protective orders to include pets say many women stay in abusive relationships because they’re worried about what might happen to their animals.

U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, filed a bill this week called the Pets and Women’s Safety Act, or PAWS for short.

Clark says women shouldn’t be forced to choose between their own safety and that of a beloved pet.

A 2012 law put Massachusetts among a number of states that allow pets to be included in restraining orders, but groups including the Humane Society of the United States say a national policy is needed. The bill would also establish federal grants to help shelters for victims of domestic violence accommodate pets.

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