New Mexico is combatting the state’s serious domestic violence problem from an important angle: adding to the defintion of “domestic abuse” the act of threatening or harming companion animals, thereby empowering domestic abuse survivors to secure a protection order when the abuser threatens to—or carries out—harm to the survivor’s companion animal(s).
Studies show up to 65% of domestic violence survivors delay leaving abusive relationships because they fear possible harm to their animals if they are left behind.
Today, the New Mexico House of Representatives approved, by a vote of 50-13, House Bill 52, sponsored by Rep. Joanne Ferrary (D-Las Cruces), further protecting the many victims of domestic abuse.
Rep. Ferrary said, “I’m glad we’re one step closer to the day when threatening or harming a companion animal, as a means of control or intimidation, is recognized as domestic abuse so that survivors can seek protection and safety.”
Animal Protection Voters’ Chief Legislative Officer, Jessica Johnson, said, “We applaud the New Mexico House of Representatives for acknowledging that a family’s animals are often used as pawns in domestic abuse situations, and for seeking to hold abusers accountable for all the ways they might threaten, intimidate, or harm domestic violence survivors.”
Animal Protection Voters urges the continued progress of this bill in the Senate.