Senate bill stiffens penalties against animal abuse in domestic violence situations

An amendment in the statehouse designed to crack down on domestic abuse starts with our four legged friends.

A bill is making its way through the Indiana General Assembly that stiffens the penalty against people who torture animals, while threatening violence against their family.
At the St. Joseph County Humane Society they are in full support of the measure.

About once a month a victim of domestic abuse takes advantage of their "pet safe" program. For two weeks the shelter will house a victim's pets for free and provide vaccinations.

With this amendment, mutilation, not just death, would be included in the law if a person has the intent to terrorize or harass a family member using the family pet.

Studies show that's often the case during domestic abuse, pets are usually the first to suffer or used as a pawn during a dispute.

Genny Carlson from the St. Joseph County Humane Society says, “Animals are used a lot of times as a bargaining chip for a way to keep people in situations they don't want to be in. They may threaten to harm the dog or harm the cat to keep the spouse or children in the household.”

This amendment is partially sponsored by Senator John Broden from South Bend.

It is now on its way to the House.

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