Defendants facing restraining orders often worry nearly as much about how an order may affect access to and welfare of pets as they do about the effect of an order's restriction on persons. That concern is a healthy sign of how deeply we care for our pets. There's nothing wrong with having your retained New Jersey criminal defense attorney help you preserve your access to and ability to care for pets when aggressively and effectively defending an overreaching, unjust, or manipulative demand for a restraining order.
Pet Protection Laws
New Jersey's legislature adopted the Domestic Violence Pet Protection Law effective in 2012. The law authorizes, and indeed encourages, courts to include restrictions and protections relating to pets in domestic violence restraining orders. N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29(b)(19) specifically authorizes the court to enter an order “prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household.” The same provision goes even further to protect the domestic violence victim against the defendant's manipulation or abuse of pets by encouraging the court to award the pet to the victim, not the defendant alleged abuser. N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29(b)(19) adds, “Where a person has abused or threatened to abuse such animal, there shall be a presumption that possession of the animal shall be awarded to the non-abusive party.” New Jersey is not unusual in that respect. Many other states authorize similar protections, while the federal law 18 USC §2261A includes in stalking crimes actions making the victim fear the stalker will hurt the victim's pet, service or emotional support animal, or horse. Pet protections are common in restraining order law.
Responding to Pet Protection Requests
The authority of courts to include pet protections in New Jersey restraining orders makes it important to think about your pets when facing a domestic violence allegation and restraining order request. Don't forget the pets. The skilled and experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney whom you retain to defend you may help you defeat an unnecessary or manipulative restraining order request. If the court enters a restraining order, your retained defense attorney can help you evaluate how best to provide for pets in that order and help you present the evidence that will convince the court to fairly and equitably treat your right to own, possess, and care for your pets.
Caring about your pets is a good and responsible thing, even in the midst of a domestic violence and restraining order dispute. If you face a restraining order or restraining order request that affects or could affect your ability to possess and care for your pets, retain New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your aggressive and effective defense. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation now or use the online service.
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