WALTHAM – Congresswoman Katherine Clark will join together with animal and domestic violence survivors and advocates to celebrate the passage of the PAWS Act, which will be signed into law before the start of the new year by President Trump.
Having been originally introduced in 2014, the bill was able to secure passage as part of the federal Farm bill. It is heralded by bipartisan lawmarkers and advocates as a central solution to the fight to end domestic violence.
The PAWS Act expands federal domestic violence protections to include protections for the pets of domestic violence victims and establishes a federal grant program specifically designed to assist victims of domestic violence to safely shelter their pets when they leave their abusers.
- As many as one-third of domestic violence victims reported delaying their decision to leave out of concern for what would happen to their pets.
- Despite the frequency of this problem, there are only 73 domestic violence shelters nationwide that accommodate pets.
- Victims who are forced to leave their pets behind because of a lack of pet sheltering options report an ongoing dread for the safety of their pet.
- Abusers often continue to use a pet left behind as a coercive tool even after the victim has fled.
- According to one study, as many as 25 percent of participants reported returning to an abusive relationship out of concern for their pets.
The event will be held in Waltham on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 10:30 a.m. at the MSPCA-Angell office.