On May 27th, 2011, the governor of Texas signed SB 279 into law. This bill provides that a court, in a protective order, may prohibit a party from removing a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal from the possession of a person named in the order. In addition, the bill provides that in a protective order, the court may prohibit the person found to have committed family violence from harming, threatening, or interfering with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal that is possessed by a person protected by an order or by a member of the family or household of a person protected by an order.
The bill also provides that a person commits an offense if, in violation of a condition of bond set in a family violence case and related to the safety of the victim or the safety of the community, the person knowingly or intentionally harms, threatens, or interferes with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal that is possessed by a person protected by the order.
This bill becomes effective on September 1, 2011.
With the adoption of this bill, Texas became the 21st state to enact legislation providing for the protection of pets in domestic violence disputes. Click here for more information on the other states with similar legislation.