Among the bills sitting on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie‘s desk is one that could help protect pets during domestic disputes.
The bill, which passed the State Senate Monday, would allow a judge to issue a restraining order limiting a
defendant charged with a crime or offense involving domestic violence or
who is released from custody, from having any contact with any animal
kept by either person, or minor, involved in the case.
It also lets the court decide who the animals will live with.
“We’ve heard so many stories of pets being abused or even killed as retaliation against a partner when a relationship goes sour,” said Assemblyman Reed Wagner, who co-sponsored the bill with Assemblywoman Connie Wagner. “Often times it’s done without thinking as an attempt to hurt the other partner, but whether it’s intentional or not, animals should not have to suffer. This is a humane measure designed to protect innocent pets from being the victim of a domestic dispute.”
Currently, animals are not addressed as part of New Jersey’s domestic violence law.