MARYLAND 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 Maryland law amended in 2011 allows an interim protective order to award temporary possession of any pet (defined in Section 4-501 as a domesticated animal except livestock) to the person eligible for relief or the respondent. This law also allows the court to issue temporary or final protective orders awarding temporary possession of any pet of the person eligible for relief or the respondent. MD FAMILY § 4-501, 504.1
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If you discover any of the above information has changed, is outdated, or is otherwise incorrect before we do, please drop us an email and let us know.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