KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Judges in Missouri can now hand down longer restraining orders that include protection for members of a household previously overlooked — pets.
Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 71, which makes it illegal for individuals subject to protective orders to threaten violence against a victim's pet or the pet of a victim's children.
The law also extends the duration of protective orders in some circumstances.
A general protective order will remain 180 days to one year.
However, if the court finds that the subject of an order "poses a serious danger to the physical or mental health of the the petitioner or of a minor household member of the petitioner," the protective order will be granted for a minimum of two years up to a maximum of 10 years.
Protective orders may be renewed by the victim and, under the new law, the enhanced protective orders can be renewed for life.
The law also requires county sheriff's offices in Missouri to enter the protective into the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES) within 24 hours.
The law also allows judges to issue a temporary order of possession for pets "where appropriate."
It also allows judges to award money to a victim to cover medical costs resulting from the abuse of a pet covered by the new law.
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate early last month.