Breaking! Governor Gavin Newsom Of California Signs Critical Bill That Protects Victims of Domestic Violence and Their Pets

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The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV) commend California lawmakers for passing A.B. 415, critical legislation to protect victims of domestic violence and their pets.

Signed into law yesterday by Governor Gavin Newsom, this bill clarifies existing law to specify that pet deposits and additional rent charged for persons with a pet are eligible for reimbursement from the California Victim Compensation Board. Sponsored by Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego), the bill also modifies existing law to specify that emergency, temporary pet boarding is an eligible relocation cost covered by the Board.

Housing obstacles for domestic violence survivors are particularly daunting. Most emergency housing options do not accommodate pets, and boarding a pet in a public facility can be prohibitively expensive. Meanwhile, permanent housing often requires pet deposits and other fees that may make that opportunity unfeasible.

“Having access to resources that enable victims to flee an abusive relationship is crucial to ensuring the safety and welfare of both the people and animals at-risk in these vulnerable situations,” said Susan Riggs, Senior Director of State Legislation for the ASPCA, Western Region in a statement. “We are grateful to Assemblymember Maienschein for his leadership on this bill, and we thank Governor Newsom for signing A.B. 415 to remove unnecessary housing barriers so victims of domestic abuse and their pets can escape harm’s way.”

There is a well-documented link between domestic violence and animal abuse. Perpetrators of domestic violence often threaten harm or inflict injury on their victim’s pets in order to control their victims or prevent them from leaving. Too often, victims of domestic violence stay in dangerous relationships and delay seeking help out of fear for the safety of their pets. Research shows that 71% of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser threated, harmed, or killed a family pet.

“If we are serious about ending domestic and sexual violence in California, we need to support survivors in every aspect of their lives, including the protection of their pets,” said Jacquie Marroquin, Director of Programs for California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. “We applaud the signing of this bill to strengthen long-term and emergency housing options for survivors with pets.”

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