Kansas Holds Key to Passing PAWS Act


None needed at this time.


We anticipate reintroduction of this bill in the 115th Congress. 


Photo by Chad Horewdel

Dear Humanitarian,

As a constituent of US Senator Pat Roberts, you have a unique and very important role to play in getting the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, H.R. 1258/S. 1559, through Congress. Sen. Roberts is chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, which has jurisdiction over the PAWS Act. If it doesn't get out of that committee, then it is unlikely to get out of Congress; it's that simple. So it is urgent that you contact Sen. Roberts and ask him to cosponsor S. 1559 and move the bill from his committee to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

Victims of domestic violence fear not only for their own safety, but also for that of their companion animals. Having no safe place for their beloved pets is a reason many victims will not leave their abusers—lest the pet left behind fall victim to retaliatory violence. The PAWS Act helps to remove that roadblock.

When there is violence in the home, it can be directed at everyone—spouses or partners, children, elderly family members, and companion animals. Abusers are well aware of the bond between their victims and their pets, and they exploit that bond to frighten, control, manipulate, and even "punish" their human victims. A number of surveys bear the grim statistics:

  • As many as 48 percent of the battered women reported they had delayed leaving a dangerous situation out of concern for their companion animals' safety.
  • Between 49 percent and 86 percent reported that their pets had been threatened, harmed, or killed by their partners.
  • 85 percent of domestic violence shelters indicated that women coming to their facilities spoke of incidents of pet abuse.

H.R. 1258/S. 1559 would help programs provide shelter and housing assistance for the companion animals of victims of domestic violence. It also takes the crucial step of including pets in federal law pertaining to interstate stalking, protection order violations, and restitution, and urges states to allow pets to be included under protection orders (as 29 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have already done).

Clearly, if shelters and other service providers can help domestic violence survivors find a safe place for their companion animals, they will be better able be to bring everyone to safety. The PAWS Act will greatly increase their capacity to meet these critical needs.

What You Can Do:
Please contact Sen. Roberts and ask him to cosponsor S. 1559 and move the bill from his committee to the floor of the Senate. Please also contact your representative about cosponsoring H.R. 1258. (Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder are already cosponsors, but Reps. Tim Huelskamp and Mike Pompeo are not.)

You can send an email to your legislators through AWI's Compassion Index by clicking here.

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