Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently signed into law a bill that will allow judges to include animals (including horses) in an order of protection. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) worked closely with legislators to implement this bill, which the Illinois Senate voted unanimously to pass in May of this year.

Illinois House Bill 9, which was sponsored by Rep. John Fritchey, addresses these issues by enabling judges to include animals in orders of protection. The petitioner is given exclusive custody, care, and control over the animal; the judge can order the respondent to stay away from the animal and forbid the respondent to take, transfer, encumber, conceal, harm, or otherwise dispose of the animal.

“We are extremely grateful that Governor Blagojevich has signed this crucial bill into law,” said Ed Sayres, president & CEO of the ASPCA. “Victims of domestic violence should never have to fear for their pets’ safety when making the decision to leave a violent situation. This bill goes a long way in ensuring that this won’t happen.”