A new law that takes effect in Texas on Wednesday will protect the family pets in cases of domestic abuse and domestic violence, 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason reports.
Adrian Gongora of the San Antonio Battered Women's Shelter says women frequently don't leave an abusive boyfriend or husband because they're afraid that the man will retaliate by abusing a beloved dog or cat, or will ignore and not feed or care for the pet.
"A lot of times its due to the love for the pet that a victim might stay in a situation just to make sure that nothing happens because the pet has to stay behind."
Pets and generally not allowed in shelters and in many motels and other places a woman might use for refuge, and the abused women frequently has to leave in a hurry and is unable to properly round up a pet, the pet's food, and other items needed to properly care for the pet.
"Many women consider pets to be part of the family, and they won't leave if they think their pet is in danger," she said.
The new bill, which has been in the works for a decade, will allow judges to include pets in protective orders.
The Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies is now working to come up with a database of places where battered and abused women can keep their pets during their temporary crisis.