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The Pets and Women Safety Act

Posted by Steve Karimi | Dec 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

A new study reports that nearly one-third of domestic violence victims decide not to leave or seek assistance at a shelter out of concern for pets that they will be leaving at home. Unfortunately, “only about 3% of domestic violence shelters nationwide can accommodate pets.” With the expiration of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the President has signed into law a new act that aims to include pets. The “Pets and Women Safety Act” or PAWS, is intended to protect victims of domestic violence from trauma caused by the manipulation or mistreatment of pets. Research shows that abusers often also inflict abuse on family pets as a way of to intimidate or exert control over their partners. PAWS will contain a grant program that will support the construction and operating expenses for shelters to either build or continue operating pet shelters within domestic violence shelters.

Animal Welfare Institute

The Animal Welfare Institute has collaborated with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to create the Safe Havens Mapping Project for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims. The interactive map allows those with pets seeking safe shelter to quickly see what the options are in their designated area or even outside of their designated area if they so choose. In Washington, Safe Havens lists 49 shelters that are willing to provide safe shelter for victims with pets. Granted, shelter does not always mean that they will be housed together in the same shelter. The entities typically either provide sheltering services for the pets of domestic violence victims, have a relationship with such an entity, or provide referral services to facilities that will shelter the pet. Washington statistics are as follows:

  • Washington (Overall): 49 listings
  • Seattle: 13 listings
  • Shelter offering housing on-site with human companion: 0 listings.

Domestic Violence in Washington 

Domestic violence is always a tricky charge because it can be made up of many different charges and can occur between people who know each other through several different relationships. In Washington, domestic violence is legally defined as:

  • “Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members;
  • Sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or
  • Stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member.”

A family or household member includes but is not limited to the following relationships:

  • Spouses;
  • Former spouses or partners;
  • Those in a current or prior dating relationship;
  • Legal parent-child relationship; and
  • Adult persons who live together or who have lived together in the past;

Contact a Seattle Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

Domestic violence charges should always be taken seriously. Attorney Steve Karimi is a highly experienced a dedicated domestic violence defense attorney who will work hard for you. Mr. Karimi is a “top-rated” criminal defense lawyer in the Seattle area who is a former King County prosecutor who now uses his legal knowledge and insight to fight for the rights of those accused. Don't wait, contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you have been charged with a domestic violence related crime in Seattle, call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi right now. You will speak to a Seattle criminal attorney who cares about your case and wants to help you get great results. Call us at 206-660-6200 or complete the form in the sidebar.

Domestic Violence Defense

Attorney Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor who can use his knowledge and experience to defend you. He has a proven record of successfully defending domestic violence clients. When it comes to your future, make sure you have the best legal representation in town.