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MISSOURI 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)).

US Map for Pets and Protective Orders

BLUE STATES specifically provide for the inclusion of pets in protective/restraining orders.
GRAY STATES do not specifically address the inclusion of pets in protective/restraining orders.

As per the Animal Legal & Historical Center website1,

Summary: Missouri amended its laws on domestic violence protection orders in 2021 to include the protection of pets. Any ex parte order of protection shall be to protect the petitioner from domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault and may include “[a] temporary order of possession of pets where appropriate.” “Pet” is defined as a living creature maintained by a household member for companionship and not for commercial purposes.” This is listed in V. A. M. S. 455.010, 455.045

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

Woman screaming, "WHAT CAN I DO?!?"

DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!

We know you, like all the others, probably already are documenting, but the problem is what and how you document probably doesn’t meet the criteria to be considered evidence in the legal system. The laws are very specific as to what is evidence and what is considered hearsay. And even if it does, if you can’t prove (chain of custody) that your documentation hasn’t been touched, edited, damaged, altered, or deleted, then the defense can argue it doesn’t count!

VictimsVoice can help you document the details that matter to you and matter to the courts.

  • Save images safely and legally.
  • Learn how to transcribe audio and transcribe video, then safely store it to legal standards.
  • Perfect for protective orders, divorce and custody, and criminal cases.

We work to keep you safe and make sure you’re collecting information that the authorities see as court-worthy.
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