On March 4th, 2015, a bill was filed in the United States House of Representatives that has the potential to protect our furry friends in the most tragic of circumstances, domestic violence. The Pet and Woman Safety Act of 2015 would protect pets defined as any domesticated animal that is not used for commercial reasons from the abusers by:
- Adding pets to those protected under the federal stalking statute—this means the stalker would be subject to fines and/or imprisonment if they through travel, electronic media or other means place another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm or death for them or their pet.
- Include pets as the subject of interstate protection orders.
- Amend the section of restitution owed to the victim to include veterinary services related to domestic violence.
- Create an Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance Grant Program to award grants to eligible entities to carry out programs to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and their pets. The bill provides for $3,000,000 in funding for each of the first four years of the program. This would include things like shelter provisions for animals and veterinary care.