A Protection From Abuse Order May Soon Protect Your Pets

Posted by Joseph Lento | May 17, 2024 | 0 Comments

On March 25, 2024,  Penn Watch News reported that a new Senate Bill could soon protect animals that are also subject to domestic violence. The Senate bill was introduced by Senator Dan Laughlin ( R-49) to provide protection to abused family pets. Senator Laughlin cited data from the Humane Society of the United States, reporting that “71% of domestic abuse victims stated that their abuser also hurt their pets.” Laughlin noted that targeting pets is another way that an abuser can psychologically torment the pet's owner. Protection From Abuse  (PFA) orders are available to protect victims, but currently, that protection does not explicitly extend to a judge having the authority to restrain a defendant from harming the victim's pets. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1105  would extend the judge's authority to protect pets from abuse, which would also alleviate some stress for the victims. 

If you or your loved ones are involved in a domestic violence dispute in Pennsylvania, seek help today to obtain a PFA order with assistance from the LLF Law Firm Family Law Team. Call the offices today at 888.535.3686  or contact us

The Current Status of Senate Bill 1105 

The current law in Pennsylvania does not have explicit enforcement provisions under a protection from abuse order that extends to family pets. Senate Bill 1105, if passed, would change that by amending the statute involved in PFA orders. Senate Bill 1105 was discussed in a Memorandum by Senator Laughlin on January  6.2024. He then became the prime sponsor of the bill, which is an amendment to Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. The specific order in the proposed legislation may include: “(9.1) Granting temporary ownership rights over a companion animal and directing the defendant to refrain from possessing, contacting, attempting to contact, transferring, or relocating  the companion animal or entering the property of any person sheltering the companion animal.”  

If, after a hearing on the protection order, the court finds that the family pet has been abused by the defendant or there is a continuing risk of harm to the animal, then the proposed amendment would allow the protection of a final PFA order to also protect the companion animal. The last action on Senate Bill 1105 was a referral to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 22, 2024.  

Showing Evidence of Harm to Pets Under the New Amendment 

The new amendment would allow for pets to be protected from violence by domestic abusers based on evidence presented during or after the hearing seeking a PFA order. This would allow a judge's order to be extended to restrain a defendant from causing harm to pets.  

Securing a Protection from Abuse Order requires the help of trained professionals to enforce all of your rights under Pennsylvania law. If you are facing domestic violence issues, contact the LLF Law Firm Family Law Team offices today at 888.535.3686  or contact us .  

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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