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Capitol Briefs: Legislature moves to add pets to protection orders

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House approved a bill that would allow protection orders to cover pets Monday, sending it back to the Senate for final approval. 

Sen. Elaine Gannon’s SB 71 would allow protection orders for adults and children to shield pets from those threatening or committing abuse against them. She previously said pets were like family for many owners, comparing them to children. 

“I appreciate the body and the Speaker’s Office working to add these protections,” said House handler Rep. Lane Roberts

  • The sole amendment added on the floor would allow parents, juvenile officers, and guardian ad litems to appeal any court decision altering the placement of a child. Amendment maker Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman said the change would rein in the power of juvenile judges. The amendment was praised by both sides of the aisle and attached without opposition.  
  • The bill made it through the perfection process last month with no amendments and unanimously passed the upper chamber. It passed the House by a vote of 144-3. 
  • Farm or commercial animals are not included under the bill.
  • Gannon cited statistics during the committee process from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which found more than 70 percent of pet owners in domestic violence shelters said their pets had been threatened, injured, or killed by an abuser.