Do my new little puppy friends remind you of anyone? Maybe this will help jog your memory.
That’s right. They’re the stuffed version of that cute puppy that sang the Bayer K9 Advantix commercial. Keeping bugs off of dogs and cats is pretty important business, but now the good people at Bayer are involved in something that’s even more important.
It’s called the Pet and Women’s Safety (PAWS) Act. The PAWS Act is bicameral (that means U.S. House and Senate) and bipartisan (that means Democrats and Republicans) legislation to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence from emotional and psychological trauma caused by violence against their pets. The act expands existing federal domestic violence protections to include threats or acts of violence against a victim’s pet, and provides grant funding to programs that offer shelter and housing assistance for domestic violence victims with pets. The bill also requires the full amount of the victim’s losses for purposes of restitution in domestic violence and stalking offenses to include any costs incurred for veterinary services relating to physical care for the victim’s pet. Here are a few important statistics for you:
- 71% of pet-owning women entering emergency shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed, or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims.
- 48% of domestic violence survivors report they are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave.
- Fewer than 5% of domestic violence shelters across the country accept pets.
So what can you do to change those statistics? You can start by clicking here to learn more about the PAWS Act and why it’s so important. And then take the next step by writing to your U.S. representatives to urge them to support the PAWS Act. It’s simple. Just click here and scroll down to fill in the information. You don’t even need to know who your representatives are (although you should). The form does all the work for you.
My humans learned about the PAWS Act when we attended the BlogPaws 2017 conference. That’s when my human mommy wrote to our representatives using the form. The results were a little mixed. Representative Cedric Richmond responded quickly, but his obvious form letter was all about this year’s congressional budget and spending process . . . not one mention of or reference to the PAWS Act. At least Senator Bill Cassidy’s letter referenced the actual act and called it “important,” before he said that it’s been referred to a committee on which he doesn’t serve. And from Senator John Kennedy . . . well, Mommy has yet to hear from our junior senator. But she’s not giving up, and I hope you won’t either.
We’ve covered some pretty serious stuff today. I don’t often write about serious things, but this is important. At the BlogPaws conference, Mommy met a lady who had to make the difficult choice to stay in an abusive situation or go to a shelter but leave her pets behind. You can imagine how important her pets were to her. As she said, they were all she had. Fortunately, she found a local shelter that accepts pets. Not all victims of abuse and their pets are as lucky. I hope you’ll take just a few minutes to learn more about the PAWS Act and to take action to protect victims of domestic abuse and their pets across the United States. It’s important.