Story by: HOLLY HUNTOON

A new legislation has been introduced by the Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Representative William O’Brien that will offer protection and safety in Family Court jurisdiction to animals involved in domestic abuse situations.

President Dominick Ruggerio said that the legislation will make sure that pets are protected under the law just like people from domestic abusers.

“Often in cases of domestic violence, pets can be severely harmed by the abuser as well. Many states in the country already have laws that include pets in domestic violence protection orders,” said Representative O’Brien. “An innocent animal should not be allowed to be left with dangerous and violent abusers.”

Both President Ruggerio and Representative O’Brien have sponsored legislation towards animal protection.

Tonya Harris, Executive Director of The Rhode Island Coalition Against Violence, sent NBC10 News this statement:

“The RICADV supports policies that increase options and eliminate barriers for survivors of domestic violence and their children, as they seek safety. For this reason we support the intent of this legislation to provide increased options for victims who cannot leave an abusive situation for fear of threats to their pets. Regarding this proposed legislation, we have some questions including how the bill would be enforced if the restraining order is violated. We hope to work with the sponsors and supporters of this bill to make sure that every home is a safe and every member of the family is able to live in peace.”

Representative O’Brien told NBC10 News that a hearing will take place some time in March.

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