WISCONSIN 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: These Wisconsin statutes concern restraining orders or injunctions in domestic abuse cases, child abuse cases, and cases filed by “individuals as risk.” In each of these laws, there are protections for “household pets,” defined as domestic animals that are not farm animals, as defined in s. 951.01(3), that are kept, owned, or cared for by the petitioner or by a family member or a household member of the petitioner. In both cases of domestic abuse and child abuse, a judge or circuit court commissioner shall issue a temporary restraining order ordering the respondent to refrain from removing, hiding, damaging, harming, or mistreating, or disposing of, a household pet, to allow the petitioner or a family member or household member of the petitioner acting on his or her behalf to retrieve a household pet, or any combination of these remedies requested in the petition. The domestic abuse and child abuse laws then outline the procedures for obtaining an injunction that includes those protections for domestic pets if requirements are met under the laws. In section 813.123, an “individual at risk,” may also seek a TRO and injunction that orders the respondent to refrain from removing, hiding, damaging, harming, or mistreating, or disposing of, a household pet and allow the individual at risk or a guardian, guardian ad litem, family member, or household member of the individual at risk acting on his or her behalf to retrieve a household pet. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 813.12, 813.122, 813.123
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If you discover any of the above information has changed, is outdated, or is otherwise incorrect before we do, please drop us an email and let us know.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