- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A bill expanding legal protections for animals in domestic violence situations has passed the Alaska House and is headed for the Senate.

While the bill spells out a definition for pet abuse and lays out requirements for owners to pay for the cost of care for seized pets, it is the domestic violence provisions that supporters said are the intent of the measure.

The bill was co-sponsored by the late Democratic Rep. Max Gruenberg and Republican Rep. Liz Vazquez. In a floor speech Thursday, Vazquez said victims who successfully obtain restraining orders would be able to include family pets in those orders.

The bill also allows courts to include animals in custody agreements during divorce and separation cases.

The measure passed 39-0.

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