New bill protects Florida domestic violence survivors and their pets

Amid a rise of domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Florida law provides relief to survivors and their pets.

In July, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed C.S./S.B. 1082, which will help keep people and pets together by ensuring pets can be included in orders of protection from domestic violence. With this new law, Florida joins more than 30 other states who have enacted public policies to safeguard humans and pets from violence in the home.

Up to 89 percent of female pet parents entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser threatened, harmed, or killed a family pet. Additionally, as many as 48 percent of domestic violence survivors with pets delay seeking safety, fearing what would happen if they left their pets behind.

“Under normal circumstances, adults, children, and pets living in an abusive home often face major obstacles to escape harm’s way. Unfortunately, the necessity of staying at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has made this situation substantially more dangerous,” said Jennifer Hobgood, senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA, Southeast Region. “This lifesaving law now makes it clear that courts may include family pets in temporary restraining orders, and we thank Governor DeSantis for signing this bill.”