(KCBS) – More and more states are starting to include pets in domestic violence protection orders, which raises the question – are pets often abused in homes with domestic violence problems?

“Unfortunately, they are,” said Jennifer Scarlett, DVM, co-president of the San Francisco SPCA. “Over 60% of American households have pets and a majority of women who are in shelters report that their batterer also abused the pets in the household.”

It is, therefore, important that pets be given a legitimate level of protection.

“Besides just protecting that pet, it’s also protecting the victim of the violence as well as children. 25% to 40% of women say that they stay in abusive relationships or in situations because they’re afraid to leave their pet in the household,” Scarlett explained.

California does include pets in violence protection orders.

“In 2007 our state passed legislation to protect pets,” said Scarlett. “And then we also have 22 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico, who also have passed legislation for provisions for pets in domestic violence cases.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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