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Getting Help for Domestic Abuse — Military Protection Orders Can Include Pets

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Our pets provide us with great comfort, cuddles and company. They offer and inspire unconditional love. Unfortunately, that love between a family and pet may be used by an abusive partner to inflict emotional abuse, manipulate and control their partner.

A military protection order is the military version of a restraining order. Once a victim elects to make an unrestricted report of domestic abuse, a military commander can issue an MPO. Within the MPO form, the victim may request to include their pet in the protection order. There is space to include what threats or abuse have occurred toward a pet in addition to those made toward the victim.

Individuals who are in an abusive relationship can call or visit their local Family Advocacy Program office. There does not need to be any physical violence for FAP to help. Anyone seeking support for relationship abuse can speak with a domestic abuse victim advocate, who can guide them on:

A domestic abuse victim advocate understands military life and can help guide those in need through their next steps.

If concerns for your pet’s safety are a barrier to seeking help for abuse, you have options and protection.

On an installation, an MPO can legally prohibit an abusive partner from returning home, taking possession of a pet or entering the victim’s workplace. An MPO may also require that the abusive partner turn over his or her weapons.

An MPO is only enforceable on the installation. A civilian restraining/protection order is enforceable on- and off-installation. A domestic abuse victim advocate can help individuals seek information and resources on both.

The “Military Protection Order,” DD Form 2873, allows those in abusive relationships to:

  • Include their pets in the protection order (Under Section 7(m), “other specific provisions of this Order”)
  • List threats or injuries to the pet by the abuser (Under Section 5 of the MPO form, “information supporting issuance of this MPO”)

The UCMJ recognizes:

Another resource available is the National Domestic Violence Hotline. A trained advocate is available to speak with anyone in need of support 24/7. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 to report animal and intimate partner abuse. Individuals may access support for:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Safety planning so they and their pet can remain safe
  • Referrals to local service providers

If you find yourself or someone you know in immediate danger, call 911.

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Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, visit the 24/7 Family Advocacy Program Victim Advocate Locator or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800−799−7233.