New York S. 7401 would amend the state’s social services laws to require humane law enforcement officers and others responsible for investigating allegations of animal cruelty to report any suspected maltreatment or abuse of a child discovered during the course of their duties. It likewise would require individuals investigating child abuse to report any suspected maltreatment or cruelty to animals discovered in the course of fulfilling their professional responsibilities. The bill has been referred to the New York Senate Rules Committee.
New York Considers Cross-Reporting Requirements for Abuse of Animals and Children
Maine Provides for Protection of Companion Animals in Divorce
Maine has passed without the Governor’s signature a measure to provide for the care of companion animals in a divorce. The law directs a judge to award “ownership” of the animal to one party only based on a variety of factors. Those factors include: the well-being of the animal; the amount of time each party has spent with the animal during the marriage; the emotional attachment to the animal; potential benefits of the animal remaining in the primary residence of a child; and any history of domestic abuse, animal abuse, or other unsafe conditions for the animal.
Key terms: companion animals, family law
New York Considers Requiring Animal and Child Abuse Cross-Reporting
New York Assembly Bill 5780 would require any person charged with enforcing laws prohibiting animal cruelty to make a report when they have reasonable cause to believe that abuse of a child has also occurred, and vice versa.
New York Bills Would Require Courts to Consider Best Interest of a Companion Animal in Divorce Proceedings
Rhode Island Considers Allowing Courts to Determine Guardianship of Companion Animals
Rhode Island House Bill 5618 would allow district courts to determine the “ownership” of companion animals when contested in court based on factors relevant to the wellbeing of the animal including, but not limited to, who has paid for the majority of the animal’s care, who cared for the animal on a daily basis, and who can provide the safest and most appropriate living environment for the animal. The bill would also allow the court to grant equitable relief, including temporary restraining orders and preliminary or permanent injunctions, in matters addressing guardianship over companion animals.
Illinois Considers Funding to Ensure Domestic Violence Shelters are Companion Animal Friendly
Illinois House Bill 1907 would establish a grant program to enable domestic violence shelters in counties with a population of 200,000 or more to be equipped to provide shelter assistance to both survivors of intimate partner violence and their companion animals.
Rhode Island Bill Would Mandate Consideration of Animal’s Best Interest in Custody Cases
Rhode Island House Bill 5580 would require consideration of factors related to “the best interest of the animal” when determining guardianship of a companion animal in a divorce or separation proceeding.
Congress Considers Including Data on Animal Abuse in National Clearinghouse for Information Relating to Child Abuse and Neglect
Congress House Bill 763 would amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to include data on animal abuse in the national clearinghouse for information relating to child abuse and neglect.
New York Considers Requiring Domestic Violence Investigation of those Accused of Animal Abuse
New York Assembly Bill 3985 would require that the state of New York office of children and family services must investigate any individual who is accused of or investigated for animal cruelty.
New York Considers Allowing Inclusion of Companion Animals in Orders of Protection
New York Senate Bill 3039 would allow a court to issue orders of protection for companion animals