• The connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence is well-documented. Abusers often harm pets to intimidate and control their victims or to prevent them from leaving. Too often, victims of domestic violence stay in dangerous relationships and delay seeking help out of fear for the safety of the pets they must leave behind. Even though I think it is wonderful that they want to protect their animals it is still very sad.
In order to protect domestic violence victims and their pets, 28 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have enacted laws that allow courts to include pets in domestic violence protection orders.
To expand to all states the federal protections offered in the Pet and Women Safety Act of 2015(PAWS Act) Sponsored by Rep. Clark, Katherine M. [D-MA-5] will help victims of domestic violence and their pets escape abusive environments and seek the safety and shelter they need. This bipartisan legislation will make crossing state lines to injure a pet an offense punishable by up to five years in prison. The bill will also allow victims to recover veterinary costs and will establish grants to help house victims and their at-risk pets.
In the latest action, on March 31, 2015 it was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. Don’t they have a committee on cruelty to animals?
Please urge your representative (Hannah-Beth Jackson 805-988-1940) to support this important bill by placing a phone call to her office.
Here is a sample script you can use when speaking to the receptionist: “Hi, this is Scamp and I am your constituent residing in Ventura. I’m calling today to urge Senator Jackson to support S.1559, the Pet and Women Safety Act, to protect victims of domestic violence and their pets. Thank you.”
• In cities’ across the nation, we see recurring issues that prevent willing pet adopters from adopting pets or keeping their adopted animals in their homes. Here are some of the most common reasons that family-pets end up in the shelter system:
Many people don’t know that most adoption agencies provide some free services for eligible pet parents. Caring for a pet can be costly, and in some instances, cost-prohibitive. Legal and community requirements such as vaccinations and registration fees can cost money, as can services necessary for the pet’s wellbeing. Depending on an animal’s age or medical issues, things like spay/neuter surgery, x-rays, blood tests or routine vet check-ups can add up. The high expense of owning a pet often leads people to relinquish animals to the shelter system; they simply can’t afford the cost of care.
Excessive noise, pawing, jumping, energy and destruction are all challenging traits that are common in many pets(certainly not me, I am a pussy-cat like Savana). With a bit of time and dedication on both the pet and parent’s part, these behavioral issues can be trained or managed—however, many pet parents don’t know how to go about finding the resources to fix the problem. The lack of awareness and access to behavioral training are often leading pets back into shelters, and out of loving homes.
Unfortunately, there are many rental properties or communities that restrict the pets that residents can have. Some areas have weight restrictions (good thing that I am on a diet), while others have breed restrictions which could exclude dogs like pit bulls, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers. For pet parents relocating to restrictive housing like this, their only option may be to make the heartbreaking decision to relinquish their pets to local animal shelters. In addition, prospective pet parents who already live in restrictive housing will be limited to certain types of animals when adopting—ultimately putting a strain on the animal shelters in those communities.
• by Victoria Usher
Clara Chambers has been sentenced to ten months in custody for running an unlicensed puppy mill once again. Chambers was convicted in 2012 for running the puppy mill out of her home in Las Vegas and she violated the terms of her probation big time! Prosecutors also said that a lot of the puppies died of respiratory and parasitic infections not too long after they were purchased. No animals should ever be treated this way; they deserve so much better. Clara Chambers was ordered by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia to pay $24,000 in restitution to people who had bought the puppies and to also serve twenty-six months of supervised release. I’m glad that courts are now looking at pet cruelty the same as people cruelty.
• Pet owners should always compare pet insurance policies to see what will work best for their budget and breed of pet. There are a number of questions you should ask. Each insurance provider will have a slightly different answer, price and type of coverage. Here are a few things to look for when considering a policy:
* Does your pet’s veterinarian accept the type of insurance coverage you’re considering?
* Is the insurance company licensed in your state?
* Does the policy cover “wellness” or “preventive care” such as annual checkups and shots?
* What is the policy’s deductible? Can you change that deductible from year to year?
* What kind of health conditions or care are not included?
* What are the annual and lifetime care limits, if any?
* What if your pet has a pre-existing condition?
* Are there any extra fees that could be charged?
These are just some of the important questions you should ask of a pet policy provider. You’ll want to find a balance between the cost of the policy and the amount of coverage it provides for different health situations. A discussion with your vet will get you started.