S. 2184 passes

SENATE ADDS RESTRAINING ORDER PROTECTIONS TO ANIMAL CONTROL BILL: Domestic violence victims fearing for the safety of their pets would be able to include the animals in restraining orders under a plan adopted by the Senate Thursday afternoon. The measure came as an amendment to a larger animal control bill for municipalities (S 2184) sponsored by Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville). When issuing restraining orders, judges may order defendants to “refrain from abusing, threatening, taking, interfering with, transferring, encumbering, concealing, harming, or otherwise disposing of the animal,” the amendment states. Sen. Katherine Clark (D-Melrose), who authored the amendment, said many victims of domestic violence will stay in an abusive situation because they fear their abusers will hurt their pets if they leave. Seventeen other states have adopted similar laws, Clark said. Allowing pets in restraining orders was first included in a catch-all sentencing and habitual offender crime bill the Senate passed at the end of last year.  That bill has been held up in conference committee talks for nearly four months. Sen. Cynthia Creem, a member of the conference committee, said on the Senate floor Thursday she supported the amendment because she did not want to see the session end without passing something regarding pets and restraining orders. “There are people who stay and continue to be victims because their abuser threatens to hurt or kill their pet. So they continue in these abusive relationships,” Creem said. “It is important we understand this is also about protecting people in abusive relationships.” 5:09 p.m.