By CAITLIN TAYLOR
Capital News Service
LANSING — Americans take pride in treating their pets like members of the family, animal advocate Beatrice Friedlander says. Usually this means lounging on the couch with the cat or slipping the dog scraps of food from the dinner table. But in dysfunctional or violent families, Friedlander said, animals that are treated like members of the family can become victims too. Between 71 and 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partners also abused or killed the family pet, according to the Humane Society of the U.S.
To increase protections for pets in abusive homes, Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, introduced an amendment to the state’s domestic violence law. The bill would classify harm or attempted harm to a household animal as domestic violence, and it would use state funding for further animal protections.