Hogan Lovells Pro Bono Team Drafts Manual Protecting Pet-Owning Victims of Domestic Violence

WASHINGTON, D.C., 24 November 2014 – A team of pro bono lawyers from Hogan Lovells' Washington, D.C. office worked alongside the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) to draft Representing Domestic Violence Survivors With Pets in the District of Columbia, Maryland & Virginia: A Manual for Domestic Violence Attorneys & Advocates Helping Survivors Obtain Protection Orders (the manual). Information in the manual will enable lawyers to better assist pet-owning domestic violence survivors in civil protection order cases in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

The manual addresses why pets should be covered under protection orders in cases of domestic violence, noting abusers harm pets and service animals just as they physically harm their partners and children. Victims often refuse to leave violent situations or relationships for fear of what will happen to their pets or do not volunteer that they have a pet—under the false assumption that there are no resources available to care for these animals.

The manual walks lawyers and advocates through the process of effectively assessing and representing domestic violence survivors in these types of situations, outlining how to include animal abuse as part of the underlying domestic violence, how to ask for pet relief such as seeking custody, and the types of evidentiary hurdles attorneys may encounter when presenting such cases. AWI plans to distribute the manual to domestic violence service providers across the metropolitan area. The manual is the first of its kind, and AWI plans to use it as a template for drafting similar manuals for the other pet protection order jurisdictions.

The Hogan Lovells pro bono team included Partner George Carneal and Pro Bono Coordinator Blair Warner.

To read the manual in its entirety please visit the AWI website here.

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