Maine is leading the United States in progressive animal welfare legislation with a new law that allows judges to include pets in domestic abuse protection orders.

Citing the link between partner or spousal abuse and the mistreatment of dogs and other loved pets, experts pushed for the law to reduce the chances a battered person would fail to flee out of concern for their dog.

According to a story in the Associated Press (AP), this threat is a significant problem for many victims. “It’s just another tactic to keep power and control over the victim,” said Cindy Peoples of Caring Unlimited, a shelter in York County, in the AP story.

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