Target: Alaskan State Legislature Minority Leader Chris Tuck
Goal: Protect pets from abuse during divorces and domestic disputes.
Deciding which parent a pet will live with during and after a divorce or domestic abuse case is an increasingly frequent dispute, as it is becoming more popular for couples to forgo or delay children and have pets instead. However, the options for divorcing pet owners are quite limited and do not specifically address the safety or well-being of the pets themselves. Because pets are labeled personal property, courts do not have to, legally, evaluate the pet’s best interest in deciding ownership. This leaves animals subject to being used as leverage and revenge by both parties involved in the abuse and/or divorce case.
Rep. Liz Vazquez of Alaska is addressing the issue with a bill which would provide animals with rights they unquestionably deserve, especially when their safety is at stake. The legislation would add a pet-related section to the rights of a victim of domestic violence. This is important for the welfare of the animal because it would allow the victim to petition the court for the animal’s custody, thus removing the animal from the abuser’s home and preventing the abuser from disposing of animals or harming them in any other way.
In many homes, pets are nothing short of family members. Help ensure they are treated as such by signing the petition below.
Dear Rep. Chris Tuck,
In divorce cases involving domestic violence and abuse, the safety and well-being of pets is virtually ignored because they are considered merely personal, material property. Leaving pets to live in potentially abusive situations without any laws in place to stand for their protection is negligent. We ask you to support legislation recently introduced by Rep. Liz Vazquez which would ensure this concern is properly addressed.
The bill’s proposed pet-related section regarding the rights of a victim of domestic violence would change the lives of suffering animals; it would allow the victim to petition the court for the animal’s custody, thus removing the animal from the abuser’s home. The amount of pain spared by this one section would be immeasurable.
You have a chance to right this long-standing wrong and save pets from becoming pawns used during a fight between their owners, or, worse yet, from being disposed of as any other material property. The fact that there is no legal way to fight or punish someone for abusing pets in this way is unacceptable. The welfare of children is given full consideration under the law in cases of domestic violence and divorce; pets should not be treated as lesser entities. Let’s make this right today. Let’s ensure this bill is passed and that our animals have a fighting chance for protection and the care they deserve in a situation that could too easily become a living nightmare for them.
Thank you for acknowledging the need for change and for speaking for family members who do not have voices themselves.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Wonderlane via Flickr