Florida Wants Domestic Violence Injunctions to Block Access to Pets



On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. These statistics, compiled by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, show that there were 108,030 domestic violence incidents reported in one year to police in Florida. While domestic violence injunctions have always offered victims legal protections, lawmakers are seeking to extend this umbrella of protection to pets as well.

This year, Florida lawmakers approved House Bill 241, which allows victims of domestic violence to request that judges temporarily prevent abusers from contacting their pets. The House bill sponsored by state Rep. Sam Killebrew (R-Lakeland), empowers judges to grant sole custody, care, and control of shared pets to people who file an injunction for domestic violence.

The bill also allows judges to decide whether domestic violence offenders should have any contact with the pets as the injunction case moves forward.

Who Can File a Domestic Violence Injunction in Florida?

Florida courts issue domestic violence injunctions for victims who are abused by their:

  • Spouse,
  • Partner,
  • Household,
  • or family members.

If a judge believes that the person who filed the injunction (the petitioner) is truly in danger of physical violence or abuse at home, they may issue a restraining order.

Specific acts define domestic violence, including:

  • Abuse
  • Battery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated battery
  • Stalking
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual battery
  • Kidnapping
  • False Imprisonment

Traditionally, Florida courts have not provided protections for pets in domestic disputes. However, the legislation — which was unanimously approved by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee — would grant judges the power to award care of pets solely to the petitioner. Before the measure can get a vote in the full House, it must clear one more House panel. A similar bill has been approved by the Florida Senate. SB 1082 relates to domestic violence injunctions and provides judges with the following authority:

“Authorizing a court to take certain actions regarding the care, possession, or control of an animal in domestic violence injunctions, etc.”

The Senate bill passed in March and goes into effect on July 1, 2020. The bills are a clear indication that Floridians want security measures for their pets when seeking protection from an abuser.

What Protections Do Domestic Violence Injunctions Currently Provide Victims in Florida?

Any individual who suffers physical injury from a spouse, partner, or member of their household can seek a domestic violence injunction for protection. Injunctions, also known as restraining orders, grant legal protection to a victim by ordering the abuser to stay away or face severe criminal penalties.

A domestic violence injunction can accomplish the following for victims:

  • Prevent a person from perpetrating acts of domestic violence
  • Award the victim temporary and exclusive use of the home
  • Stop the abuser from having contact with any children involved
  • Forces the respondent to take abuse-intervention courses
  • Requires the offender to surrender any firearms or weapons to the police

A person who’s violently abused in Florida should file a police report against their abuser. After that, contact an experienced injunction lawyer to help guide them through the process.

Turn to Orlando’s Dedicated Injunction Lawyers

If you’ve been abused in a domestic violence situation that resulted in a civil injunction, the attorneys at Fighter Law can help you through this challenging time. At Fighter Law, we fight for our clients. Domestic violence injunctions should be taken very seriously. If you’re in this situation, you need a knowledgeable and experienced injunction attorney to advocate fiercely for you.

The Orlando injunction lawyers at Fighter Law take a personal approach and will gladly assist you through each step of the injunction process so you can have freedom and peace of mind. Our team has numerous years of experience helping victims secure freedom from a dangerous situation at home, and we can do the same for you.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable injunction attorney, complete an online contact form or call us today at 407- FIGHTER (344-4837).

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