Monday, December 31, 2007

Bill protects animals in Domestic violence situations, adopted in Illinois begins Jan. 1, 2008

Contact: Inga Fairclough / (212) 876-7700 x 4564

or (347) 578-2243

ASPCA-Driven Illinois Bill Goes Into Effect January 1

HB9 Increases Protections for Domestic Violence Victims and Their Pets

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is proud to announce that legislature HB9, a bill that the ASPCA worked closely alongside legislators to implement, will go into effect on January 1, 2008. Earlier this year, on May 22, the Illinois Senate voted unanimously to pass this bill that now allows judges to include animals in an order of protection.

“This bill goes a long way in ensuring that victims of domestic violence don’t have to fear for their pets’ safety when making the decision to leave a violent situation,” said Ed Sayres, president & CEO of the ASPCA. “We are extremely grateful to Rep. John Fritchey for sponsoring this important bill and proud that we were able to assist in seeing it to fruition.”

Research has shown that much like children, pets are often used as pawns in domestic violence. Without provisions to adequately protect their pets, victims of interpersonal violence may feel compelled to remain in abusive situations. Consider the following statistics:

  • 83 percent of directors of the largest shelters for battered women in the U.S. indicated women entering the shelters discussed incidents of pet abuse in the family;
  • 71 percent of pet-owning women in shelters reported that a pet had been threatened, injured or killed by their abuser; and
  • 49 percent of pet-owning victims who fled their abusers and sought shelter continued to worry about their animals after entering shelters.

Illinois House Bill 9 addresses these issues by enabling judges to include animals in orders of protection. The petitioner is given exclusive custody, care and control over the animal; the judge can order the respondent to stay away from the animal and forbid the respondent to take, transfer, encumber, conceal, harm or otherwise dispose of the animal.

For more information on other ASPCA legislative activities, please visit

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first humane organization established in the Americas, and today has more than one million supporters throughout North America. A 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides local and national leadership in animal-assisted therapy, animal behavior, animal poison control, anti-cruelty, humane education, legislative services, and shelter outreach. The New York City headquarters houses a full-service, accredited, animal hospital, adoption center, and mobile clinic outreach program. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York’s animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series “Animal Precinct” on Animal Planet. For more information, please visit


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