NEWS: Bipartisan Legislation Introduced Setting Legal Standards for Pets in Divorce and Domestic Violence Proceedings

Legislation Holds Owners Responsible for Costs for Animals Seized Due to Cruelty or Neglect

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2015

Juneau – A bipartisan effort in the Alaska Legislature will allow the well-being of pets to be considered in several different legal proceedings.  HB 147 is sponsored by District 22 State Representative Liz Vazquez (R-Anchorage) and District 16 State Representative Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage).

“Pets are often considered part of a family and the courts should be able to consider their well-being,” said Rep. Vazquez. “This legislation will make it more difficult for a pet to be used by an abuser to keep a victim from reporting that abuse.”

HB 147 does three things.  It allows consideration of the well-being of an animal when deciding ownership of pets in divorce proceedings.  It creates statutory protections for pets in protective orders and allows custody to be granted to victims.  HB 147 also amends state statutes to shift the financial burden of caring for animas seized due to neglect or cruelty from government agencies or shelters to the owner of the animal.

“Currently, local governments or shelters pay for the care of neglected or abused pets they accept,” said Rep. Gruenberg.  “This is wrong. This legislation ensures that the cost of care falls on the owner of the pet.”

HB 147 is being cosponsored Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage), Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage), Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage), Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham), Rep. David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks), Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan), Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), and Rep. Cathy Munoz (R-Juneau). 

HB 147 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

For more information contact House Majority Press Secretary Will Vandergriff at (907) 465-5284 or Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 465-3842.

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