Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence and Their Pets

Survivors of domestic violence should never have to decide between leaving an abusive relationship or staying and risking their safety to protect their pets. In visiting with domestic violence survivors, Gary was horrified to hear stories about how their beloved pets were held hostage as a means of being forced to stay in a relationship. Unfortunately, many domestic violence shelters lack the ability to take in both survivors and their pets. But thanks to Gary’s leadership, his Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act was signed into law in December 2018. Gary’s bill helps provide funding for facilities that harbor survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence and their pets, or facilities that are looking to do so. The bill also requires the full amount of the survivor’s losses for purposes of restitution in domestic violence and stalking offenses to include any costs incurred for veterinary services relating to physical care for the survivor’s pet.