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Bill on animal harm clears House, moves to Senate

February 9, 2019

Chance, with his owner Becky Koster, not in the picture, took part in a rally organized by Animal Protection Voters earlier this session. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE ? Hurting or threatening to hurt a partner’s pet would be recognized as domestic abuse under a proposal that passed the House this week and is now awaiting Senate hearings.

House Bill 52, sponsored by Rep. Joanne Ferrary, D-Las Cruces, would expand the definition of “domestic abuse” under state law ? to include the intentional harming or killing of a household member’s companion animal, or threatening to.

“I’m glad we’re one step closer to the day when threatening or harming a companion animal, as a means of control or intimidation, is recognized as domestic abuse so that survivors can seek protection and safety,” Ferrary said in a written statement.

The bill passed the House on a 50-13 vote, with a mix of Republicans and Democrats in favor. All 13 opposing votes came from Republicans.

“We applaud the New Mexico House of Representatives for acknowledging that a family’s animals are often used as pawns in domestic abuse situations, and for seeking to hold abusers accountable for all the ways they might threaten, intimidate, or harm domestic violence survivors,” Jessica Johnson of Animal Protection Voters said in a statement.

The measure must clear two Senate committees before reaching the floor in that chamber.

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