ASPCA Commends California Gov. Newsom for Signing Bill to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence and their PetsNew law removes housing barriers to enable victims of domestic violence and their pets to escape harm’s way
SACRAMENTO, Calif.– 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 today by Gov. Gavin Newsom, this bill clarifies existing law to specify that pet deposits and additional rent charged for persons with a pet (“pet rent”) 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. “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 the pets they would leave behind. Research shows that 71 percent 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, 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.”
For more information about the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.
About the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (the Partnership) is California’s recognized domestic violence coalition, representing over 1,000 survivors, advocates, organizations and allied individuals across the state. Working at the local, state and national levels for nearly 40 years, the Partnership has a long track record of successfully passing over 200 pieces of legislation on behalf of domestic violence victims and their children. The Partnership believes that by sharing expertise, advocates and legislators can end domestic violence. Through our public policy, communications and capacity building programs, we create system-wide change that supports survivors and invests in prevention. Every day we inspire, inform and connect all those concerned with this issue, because together we’re stronger. With offices in Sacramento, the Partnership’s member programs span the entire state. For more information, visit www.cpedv.org.