- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Hampshire is considering legislation that would extend the same protections for domestic violence victims to household pets.

The proposal would give judges the power to grant custody of a pet to the person seeking protection from domestic violence and bar the alleged offender from having contact with the pet, the Associated Press reported.

Supporters argue abusers sometimes take their anger out on a pet or attempt to intimidate victims by targeting their victim’s beloved animal.

The National Link Coalition says that some domestic abusers even threaten to hurt pets to prevent their partners from taking flight.

“One of the things we have consistently seen is that victims of domestic abuse are afraid to leave their homes because they are worried about what will happen to their pet,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public policy at the New Hampshire Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Violence, the U.K. Telegraph reported.

“There is a link between people who kill or maim their pet and subsequently harm their partners,” he said.

Opponents argue the bill isn’t specific enough and frankly isn’t needed because cruelty to animals already is a crime.

”The flawed language in this bill would allow a party in a domestic violence dispute to use the power of the courts to forbid another party from visiting a beloved pet — further escalating hostilities between parties,” said Republican state Rep. Mark Warden.

There are 26 states in the country that have already included pets in protection orders.

The New Hampshire bill passed the state House on a voice vote Wednesday and will move on to the Senate.

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