LANSING – Yesterday, state Representative Robert Kosowski (D-Westland) saw his legislation pass the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and make it one step further in the legislative process. House Bill 4478 would add companion animals to personal protection orders.

“Often, in domestic violence situations, the perpetrator of the abuse will use a family pet as a way to control their human victims,” Kosowski said. “In essence, my legislation would add a check box so that a domestic violence victim can include his or her pet while obtaining a personal protection order.”

Currently, 28 other states have similar provisions in place. One of these states, Minnesota, has been keeping track of how many personal protection orders have included companion animals since 2010. In 2010, the number of personal protection orders including pets was 167. In 2013, that number skyrocketed to 1,067. “Statistics such as these show that once domestic violence victims became aware they could include companion animals in personal protection orders, they overwhelmingly chose to do so,” said Kosowski.

“This legislation is more than just including a check box on a form,” Kosowski said. “Right now, domestic violence victims are not leaving their dangerous situations because their abuser is using the family pet as a pawn. Ensuring victims are aware they can include their companion animals in a personal protection order not only can save the animal from further abuse, it can save the human victims, both adults and children, from being controlled and forced back into violent situations.”

“I am happy to see that the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee agree with me that this is important legislation. I am hopeful that Senate leadership will place House Bill 4478 on the session calendar in the near future, so that it can make its way to the governor’s desk and strengthen Michigan’s domestic violence laws.”