Domestic Violence and Animals -- Ch. 193 of the Acts of 2012

MEMORANDUM

TO:                Interested Parties

FROM:           Jamie Sabino, VAWA STOP Grant Coordinator, MA Trial Court

DATE:            October 31, 2012

RE:               Chapter 193 of the Acts and Resolves of 2012: An Act Further Regulating Animal Control - Orders concerning domesticated animals in conjunction with restraining orders

As many of you know August 2, 2012, Governor Deval Patrick signed Chapter 193 of the Acts and Resolves of 2012, An Act Further Regulating Animal Control.  Provisions of this Act become effective on October 31, 2012.   

Section 50 of the Act adds a new Section 11 to G. L. c. 209A.  Although the Act only amends G. L. c. 209A by adding a new section 11, the provisions of the new section are applicable to several statutes enumerated in Section 11(a) relating to abuse and harassment matters.  A copy of the pertinent sections of the statute is attached.

A more detailed memo will follow, but I wanted to take the opportunity to distribute the interim forms that have been promulgated.    Please feel free to distribute this memo and attachments to your staff, members, list serves and other pertinent recipients.  

Please find attached a two page Petition and an Order.  The second page of the petition may be used in the case where the judge wishes to have the matter marked up for a two-party hearing.   Please also note, that in the case where the petition has been brought in connection with an order requested or issued under G. L. c. 209A or G. L. c. 258E, a judge may choose not to use this order form but may record the substance of the order the c. 209A order form on line 14 or the c. 258E order form on line 6.  If the Section 11 order is being issued subsequent to the issuance of a restraining order, the substance of the order may be noted

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SECTION 50. Chapter 209A of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 11.  (a) Whenever the court  issues a temporary or permanent vacate, stay away, restraining or no contact order or a judgment under section 18, 34B or 34C of chapter 208; section 32 of chapter 209; section 3, 4 or 5 of this chapter; section 15 or 20 of chapter 209C; or section 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 of chapter 258E; or a temporary restraining order or preliminary or permanent injunction relative to a domestic relations, child custody, domestic abuse or abuse prevention proceeding, the court may order the possession, care and control of any domesticated animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household to the plaintiff or petitioner. The court may order the defendant to refrain from abusing, threatening, taking, interfering with, transferring, encumbering, concealing, harming or otherwise disposing of such animal. 
(b) A party to any of the proceedings listed in subsection (a) may petition the court for an order authorized by subsection (a).
(c) Whenever the court issues a warrant for a violation of a temporary or permanent vacate, stay away, restraining or no contact order or of a judgment issued under section 18, 34B or 34C of chapter 208; section 32 of chapter 209; section 3, 4 or 5 of this chapter; section 15 or 20 of chapter 209C; or section 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 of chapter 258E, or otherwise becomes aware that an outstanding warrant for such a violation has been issued against a person before the court, the judge may make a finding, based upon the totality of the circumstances, as to whether there exists an imminent threat of bodily injury to any party to such judgment or the petitioner of any such protective order, a member of the petitioner’s family or household or to a domesticated animal belonging to such petitioner or to a member of the petitioner’s family or household. If the court makes a finding that such an imminent threat of bodily injury to a person or  domesticated animal exists, the court shall notify the appropriate law enforcement officials of such finding and such law enforcement officials shall take all necessary actions to execute any such outstanding warrant as soon as is practicable.

SECTION 52.  The chief justice of administration and management of the trial court department shall amend the relevant complaint forms for chapters 208, 209A, 209C and 258E of the General Laws, or prescribe a new form, to incorporate a petition for an order under section 11 of chapter 209A of the General Laws, which shall be in such form and language to permit a plaintiff to prepare and file such complaint pro se.