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WEST VIRGINIA 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))

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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: In West Virginia, the terms of a protective order may include awarding the petitioner the exclusive care, possession, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by either the petitioner or the respondent or a minor child residing in the residence or household of either the petitioner or the respondent and prohibiting the respondent from taking, concealing, molesting, physically injuring, killing or otherwise disposing of the animal and limiting or precluding contact by the respondent with the animal. Furthermore, West Virginia mandates that law enforcement officers who suspect animal cruelty during an alleged incident of domestic violence must report that suspicion and the grounds therefor to the county humane officer within twenty-four hours of the response to the alleged incident of domestic violence. W. Va. Code, §§ 48-27-503; 48-27-702

 

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.
CLICK HERE to see the feature list.

*Only pay for the years you need it. We’ll keep your information safe if you need to come back – even if it’s years later.

Click to purchase a license. It will redirect you to another site.
What if I can’t afford a license? We work with donors and partners to purchase on behalf of those who may not be able to afford the yearly cost. CLICK HERE to find a partner in your area to get a FREE license.

 

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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