WASHINGTON 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 Washington law reflects the state’s provision for protective orders in cases of domestic abuse. In addition to other forms of relief, a court may also order possession and use of essential personal effects. Per subsection (l), personal effects may include pets. The court may order that a petitioner be granted the exclusive custody or control of any pet owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, respondent, or minor child residing with either the petitioner or respondent and may prohibit the respondent from interfering with the petitioner’s efforts to remove the pet. The court may also prohibit the respondent from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance of specified locations where the pet is regularly found. West’s RCWA 26.50.060
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If you discover any of the above information has changed, is outdated, or is otherwise incorrect before we do, please drop us an email and let us know.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