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Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Domestic Violence / Can Hurting the Family Pet in Fort Lauderdale Lead to Domestic Violence Charges?

Can Hurting the Family Pet in Fort Lauderdale Lead to Domestic Violence Charges?


Jurisdictions across the United States are taking a more decisive stance on animal rights, and Florida is certainly no exception. There are numerous laws against animal cruelty, and you can expect serious consequences if you commit these crimes. However, you might also face consequences related to domestic violence if you harm a family pet in Fort Lauderdale. Even if you never hurt or threaten another “human” member of your family, the court might see your alleged animal abuse in the same general way as spousal or child abuse.

Courts Consider Animal Abuse in Petitions for Domestic Violence Injunctions 

If your family member or partner files a petition for a domestic violence injunction (commonly known as a restraining order), Florida courts are legally required to consider whether you committed any form of animal abuse against a family pet. If the petitioner can establish that this abuse or harm actually occurred, courts may conclude that you are likely to commit domestic violence against the petitioner at some point in the future.

This might seem unreasonable, especially because striking a human being and harming a pet are two very different crimes in Florida. Perhaps most notably, the penalties for assaulting a person are much worse than those related to assaulting a pet.

According to a document distributed by the Florida courts, women who allege to have experienced domestic violence are highly likely to also report pet abuse or killings carried out by their abusers. In other words, Florida courts believe that there is a link between animal abuse and domestic violence – and this may factor into their decision-making process when handling injunctions.

What if You Never Harmed the Pet? 

If you never harmed the pet, a temporary restraining order may still be entered against you. However, your partner or family member will need to prove that these acts actually occurred at some point. This should occur during a hearing, and you will have a chance to refute any animal abuse allegations during this process. If the injunction is based entirely on this alleged animal abuse, your domestic violence defense lawyer can show that the claims being made to justify the injunction are completely unsubstantiated. This can help you avoid numerous consequences associated with injunctions, including the loss of your right to purchase and possess firearms.

Find a Qualified, Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer in Florida 

If you are facing consequences related to domestic violence, it makes sense to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer at your earliest convenience. While accusations of animal abuse can lead to certain domestic violence consequences, your accuser still needs to prove that these actions actually took place. A qualified domestic violence lawyer can help you establish that these allegations are false and unsubstantiated. Book your consultation with Haber Blank today to learn more.




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