Bill would let judges grant custody of pets in some cases
But some say the change is unnecessary and could actually harm victims.
The measure passed the House on a voice vote last month and is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"It's not an animal rights issue; it's a human issue," Webb said. "It's about the victims of domestic abuse."
Tasker said the proposed law could be used by abusers to claim the other party was the one hurting the pet.
"It's already a he-said-she-said situation," he said. "If it comes down to who's the better liar, does that really help anyone?"
"We need to rely on our judges, who do receive training about how to determine who the primary aggressor is," she said. "That's happening now with children."
"It was rabbits, dogs, cats, horses: maiming them, killing them. It was horrifying stuff," she said.
He said abusers in both domestic violence and sexual abuse cases often threaten pets as "a bargaining chip" to keep victims from seeking help.
Threatening or harming pets is now part of a checklist police use to assess the "potential for lethality" when they respond to domestic disputes, Goldstein said. Adding household animals to domestic violence laws would give police "another arrow in the quiver," he said.
Rep. Mark Warden, R-Manchester, who voted against House Bill 1410 in committee, did not want to comment for this story. However, in the Minority Report he wrote on the bill, Warden said it could make a bad situation worse.
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