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Effective August 28, 2021, Missouri has enacted strong protection for pets and their owners from domestic violence. A “pet” is defined as “a living creature maintained by a household member for companionship and not for commercial purposes.” Abuse of a pet can now serve as the basis for an Order of Protection.

Abuse of a pet is defined as “purposely or knowingly causing, attempting to cause or threatening to cause physical injury to a pet with the intent to control, punish, intimidate, or distress the petitioner [the person requesting the Order of Protection].”

If an Order of Protection involving the abuse of a pet is granted, that Order may include a temporary order of possession of pets (by the use of the plural, it may be inferred that possession of all pets in the household may be awarded, not just the object of the abuse).

The Order of Protection may also include an award of monies necessary to cover medical costs that are the result of abuse of the pet.

These are additional provisions to the existing law.