New Hampshire Includes Pets in Protection Orders

Governor Maggie Hassan is poised as we go to press to sign HB 1410, making New Hampshire the 27th state to allow courts to include pets in protection orders. What sets the New Hampshire bill apart from most other laws is that it covers livestock. The pending law adds cruelty to animals to the definition of “abuse” under New Hampshire’s domestic violence relief statute. The court can then grant the person seeking the order exclusive care, custody and control of any companion animal or livestock in the family. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, Amanda Grady Sexton, public policy director for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, contacted the state’s 14 crisis centers to hear their accounts of clients whose abusers were also targeting their pets. She said the stories poured in and described them as horrifying. It was actually a police chief, David Goldstein of Franklin, who asked Rep. Leigh Webb (D-Franklin) to sponsor the bill. As reported by the Union Leader, Chief Goldstein has directed that threatening or harming animals are to be included in a checklist police use to assess the potential for lethality when they respond to domestic disputes. He referred to the new law as “‘another arrow in the quiver’” for police to combat domestic violence.

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