LANSING — Yesterday, state Representative Robert Kosowski (D-Westland) saw his legislation be signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

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 201 0. In 2010, the number of personal protection orders including pets was 167. In 2013, that number skyrocketed to 1067. "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 extremely happy that the Governor saw the importance of this legislation, and acted quickly to sign it into law. I'm proud that Michigan will now join several other states in furthering protections for both human victims of domestic violence, and their companion animals as well."