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Domestic Abuse Help — Military Protection Orders and 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 a 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 decides 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 as protected property. 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 for assistance. Staff can help develop a safety plan, which can include pets.

There doesn’t need to be physical violence for FAP to help. Anyone seeking support for relationship abuse can speak with a victim advocate, who can guide them on:

If concerns for your pet’s safety are keeping you from seeking help for abuse, know that you have options for 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 their weapons.

An MPO is usually only enforceable on the installation. For off-installation protection, individuals in an abusive relationship can seek to obtain a civilian restraining/protection order. Many, but not all states, passed laws that permit courts to include animals in civilian protection orders, though the type and amount of protection varies from state to state.

A domestic abuse victim advocate can help individuals find information and resources on MPOs and civilian protection/restraining orders.

The “Military Protective 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,” by specifying what is being requested regarding an animal(s).
  • List threats or injuries to the pet by the abuser (under Section 5 of the MPO form, “Information Supporting Issuance of Military Protective Order”)

The UCMJ recognizes:

In addition to seeking help from a domestic abuse victim advocate, individuals can also reach out to their Legal Services office for information on how to request and fill out an MPO or civilian protection/restraining order.

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.