Pets in orders of protection

In May 2010, the voices of individuals concerned about the welfare of Minnesota companion animals were heard and helped legislators to amend the Minnesota’s Domestic Abuse Act.

The act now includes language that allows the court in an emergency or non-emergency order for protection to “direct the care, possession, or control of a pet or companion animal owned, possessed, or kept” by a family member or order the abusing party to refrain from physically abusing or injuring the pet or companion animal "as an indirect means of intentionally threatening the safety of such person."

Every day in counties across Minnesota, animals become victims of domestic abuse. In domestic violence situations, abusing pets is a damaging and terrifying way for a batterer to control, intimidate, and hurt other members of the family. In the past, many survivors of domestic abuse did not seek safety for themselves if it meant leaving their pets in danger. Now, the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act:

  • Gives domestic violence victims a legal mechanism to keep the batterer away from their pets;
  • And prompts judges to include pets in domestic violence protection orders supporting a survivor’s journey to safety.