Protecting Animals From Abuse And Harassment
In recent decades, citizens in the United States have become aware of, and passed laws, to prevent domestic abuse and harassment. Not only are battered women shelters common, there are more of them initiating co-partnerships with facilities where family pets or companion animals can be safe, too.
One difficulty for courts is that these types of claims are often dependent on the credibility of witnesses. For example, the person subject to domestic abuse might make a poor witness, whereas the abuser may be both confident and an effective communicator. Barbara helps those who want to seek redress in the court system become more persuasive, and she helps educate her clients about verbal and nonverbal communications.
There is a growing understanding that there is a link between human abuse and animal abuse. Thus, if a veterinarian finds an animal with a curious broken leg, it is reasonable for the veterinarian to suspect violence in the home, and that children and others living there may also be at risk. Because judges fully understand that the worst individuals in our society, including serial killers, tend to have histories of animal cruelty, even judges who are unconcerned about companion animals may be aware that harm to animals will escalate into harm to humans if the perpetrator is not stopped.
It is because our culture has gained understanding of the underlying cause of violence in our society that Orders for Protection and Harassment Orders are part of our legal jurisprudence. Minnesota has passed a law that animals may be included in Orders for Protection, designed to protect adults and children.
When there is sufficient basis for courts to issue an Order for Protection, they are typically able to include the companion animal within the scope of their order. This development has occurred because the judiciary has been educated by research revealing that a significant factor as to why victims of domestic violence will not leave the perpetrator and get help is that they will not leave their companion animals behind.
Over decades, Barbara has represented many men and women in domestic abuse conflicts, and helps clients improve their ability to be understood and tell their story persuasively. She also has practical skills in sorting fact from fiction and is selective about who she will represent. Even when individuals typically in a cycle of violence believe they cannot get out, Barbara can help them develop a plan and gather evidence so that they will be believed in the legal system. Give Barbara a call. She is compassionate and wise. She can help you statewide, including in Anoka County, Hennepin County and Ramsey County.
A victim of harassment may seek a restraining order from the district court if the perpetrator violates Minnesota Statute §609.748. Harassment orders pertain not only to domestic abuse situations and problems, but in the business context, too. Barbara represented a client facing a harassment order by a show dog competitor and won. Although it is possible to fill out harassment order forms yourself, Barbara advises you to get legal help before any forms are submitted. The reason Barbara advises caution is that oftentimes, individuals who are afraid are not effective in filling out their paperwork. If the court denies their petition for harassment, the other side may be notified, and this could cause an unwanted outcome as the poorly drafted initial document is now a court record.
Barbara recommends that if you are considering filing a harassment order, to come in with your list of incidents in chronological order. If you can, use a date, or perhaps a season and year, for each incident, as well as the names and contact information of those present. If possible, bring with you, in chronological order, photographs, social media postings, and other written evidence that supports your harassment claim.
In animal law, Barbara has seen harassment claims brought in a variety of contexts, including marriages, same sex couples, co-habitants, show ring competitors, and people in animal-based businesses who have interfaced with an individual with mental health problems.