MASSACHUSETTES allows domestic violence protective orders to include pets. In addition, federal law includes the crime of stalking and actions that make the victim fear that the stalker will hurt the victim’s pet, service or emotional support animal, or horse (18 U.S.C. § 2261A (2019)).

As per the Animal Legal & Historical Center website1,

Summary: This Massachusetts law, effective October of 2012, allows the court to order the possession, care and control of any domesticated animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household to the plaintiff or petitioner in a no contact or restraining order. The court may order the defendant to refrain from abusing, threatening, taking, interfering with, transferring, encumbering, concealing, harming or otherwise disposing of such animal. M.G.L.A. 209A § 11

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS

If your state does not include pet protection in restraining orders, there may be alternatives that assist your petition in the role animal abuse plays in domestic violence, such as:

  • specifying animal cruelty as a behavior to prove why a protective order is needed
  • detailing animal abuse or threats against the victim’s pet(s) as part of the abuse, intimidation tactics, or criminal stalking
  • giving consent to “cross-report”, ie. animal control sees signs of domestic violence, child abuse, or elder abuse

If you discover any of the above information has changed, is outdated, or is otherwise incorrect before we do, please drop us an email and let us know.  Thank you.


*Information in the "Policy" section does not constitute as legal advice. 
Please consult an attorney for any and all legal advice.
(1) Animal Legal & Historical Center, Map of State Laws Allowing Domestic Violence Orders to Include Pets,
https://www.animallaw.info/content/map-state-laws-allowing-domestic-violence-orders-include-pets
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