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Alaska allows pets to be part of protective orders

There are many reasons that victims of domestic violence stay in an abusive relationship longer than they should.

They might be afraid of being stalked and harmed by their abuser if they leave. Perhaps they have nowhere to go. In situations involving children or animals, they may be afraid of leaving them with the abuser.

This type of situation is extremely common. Many abuse victims would leave if they only had to worry about themselves, but they stay to protect the children or animals.

Although the law classifies pets as property, to most of us our pets are much more than that. They are members of our family who we love and count on to provide us with affection and companionship. This special relationship with pets is often even more meaningful to someone in an abusive situation.

While most states, including Alaska, allow children to be included in a petition for a protective order, Alaska also allows abuse victims to include pets in a protective order petition.

You can take your pet with you regardless of pet ownership

Specifically, if you are a victim of domestic violence, Alaska law allows you to seek a protective order that includes language allowing you possession of personal items, including a pet, regardless of the ownership.

While most household pets are not typically registered to one spouse or another, this is not always the case. Perhaps your pet is registered in your spouse’s name but your spouse is abusive toward you and the pet.

Even if your spouse is not abusive toward the pet, you may be worried that leaving and filing a protective order may cause them to start becoming violent or abusive toward the pet out of anger or revenge toward you. You may also be worried your spouse may simply neglect the pet if you are the one who usually takes care of them.

If your protection order is granted, your abuser will be ordered to cease all contact with you and anyone else protected under the order. Contact includes being in physical proximity to you and any other protected parties and using any other communication methods to contact you.

Protection orders in Alaska stay in effect until the court orders their termination in cases of acts or threats of domestic violence. In other circumstances, a protective order can stay in effect for up to six months.

You do not have to leave your pet behind

It is important for domestic violence victims in Alaska to be aware of the law allowing a pet to be part of a protective order. Being relieved of the burden of wondering what will happen to your beloved pet if you leave could be what it takes for you to break free from an abusive situation.