For many of us, our pets are not just animals or simply companions, but loved ones akin more to a family member or child. In cases of domestic violence, your pet’s safety can be a major concern. You may be staying with your abuser because you fear that your pet will be taken or harmed by your partner if you leave.

In Arizona, however, you do not have to choose between your safety and the safety of your pet because animals may be included in an order of protection.

To file for an order of protection, your partner must be related to you by marriage (or former marriage), blood or by court order. An order of protection can be obtained against someone if you are or were married, involved romantically or sexually, are currently pregnant by, or have a child with that person. Once the required relationship is alleged, you must show that your partner may commit an act of domestic violence or has committed domestic violence — usually in the past year.

If the court grants you an order of protection, you can be given the care, custody and control of your pet as part of the order. You don’t have to be the legal or registered owner of the animal but you must show that your pets were leased, possessed, taken care of or kept by you or a minor child in your household. Your partner can be ordered to stay away from your pets and not harm or otherwise neglect your animals. Finally, your partner can be prohibited from taking, concealing or otherwise disposing of your pet.

Your pets can be your family and are entitled to all of the protections allowed under Arizona law. For these reasons, it is important that you consult with an attorney as you prepare to leave your partner so you can best safeguard yourself and your children as well as your beloved pets.

One of the experienced attorneys here at OWENS & PERKINS would be happy to speak with you and discuss your specific legal situation. If you would like to schedule an appointment please call us at (480) 994-8824 ​ or CLICK HERE to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.