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Pet Abuse is Domestic Abuse

A new Domestic Abuse Act in Scotland makes it illegal for partners to abuse pets…

Whether it’s physical, emotional or otherwise, nobody deserves to be abused by the person they love and trust. This is especially true in the case of our beloved furry companions who do nothing but love us unconditionally, and that’s what makes these new laws passed in Scotland so exciting!


So what has happened?

The Domestic Abuse Act (Scotland), released on 1st April 2019, brings about some changes to what can be defined as abusive behaviour. According to an article in the Scotsman, a study in the US revealed that over 70% of victims of abuse said that in order to control or intimidate them, their abusers would harm their pets.

Thankfully, the Domestic Abuse Act has now rendered this type of behaviour illegal. From now on, the following acts will be illegal in Scotland:

Coercive or abusive behaviour – anything that can be deemed likely to cause the partner physical or psychological harm. Examples include:

  • Behaviour that makes the victim feel constantly lower in rank/status
  • Isolating them from friends, family or other potential outlets
  • Controlling or monitoring their activities or what they do with their free time
  • Humiliation, degradation or punishment
  • Destroying property in order to threaten or intimidate

This means that hurting or intimidating a household pet in order to cause the partner psychological harm can now be classed as a form of domestic abuse. This includes starving the animal or deliberately sabotaging their wellbeing.

If you’d like to discuss the welfare of your pet or any animal you’re concerned about, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Practice information

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