People who abuse pets as part of a partnership may be jaw;ed under the planned amendment of the domestic violence laws of New South Wales.
Changes to the State Crimes Act put forward by Attorney General Mark Speakman will cover dogs , cats and other animals under the concept of “intimidation.”
Animals are frequently used as a means of control by abusive spouses, and an Australian study found that 53% of women in violent relationships reported harm to pets.
The 2016 Victoria Royal Commission on Family Violence published distressing accounts of victims experiencing partner torment and even killing their pets.
One woman said that her step-father had cut her father’s dog’s head to “teach her a lesson”.
“This is an important step that will make it easier to respond to this vile form of abuse that seeks to terrorise victims and their much-loved animals,” Speakman said.
“Perpetrators use animals to intimidate, retaliate against, and manipulate victims during the relationship and after separation, as punishment for leaving.”
Thirty-five per cent of women said they were afraid to seek shelter because of the safety of their pets.
The NSW Government has also pledged $500,000 in grants to support shelters and shelters protect victims’ animals as they escape abuse.
Anyone found guilty of an act of animal cruelty in NSW is currently faced up to six months in prison or $5,500 in fine.