Yes, under certain circumstances. In order for harming an animal to be considered domestic violence, it must be a vertebrate animal, as opposed to an insect, for example. And the harm must be done in order to “threaten, intimidate, coerce, harass, or terrorize a family or household member.”
That’s according to one of Indiana’s domestic and family violence statutes. This statute defines the different types of domestic or family violence that can result in a protective order. Abusing, torturing or mutilating animals can also result in criminal charges whether or not it was done to hurt a member of your household.
Any protective order may cover the family pets
Not only can harming a pet result in a protective order against you, but that order also may cover the pets. Any further harm to the pets could violate the protective order. That could mean additional criminal charges.
Just the accusation can be damaging
An accusation that you have harmed the family pet is shocking – but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Unfortunately, it can be hard to ensure your side of the story gets heard when the accusation is so egregious sounding. It can feel like you’re struggling to gain any traction on an icy path.
A vigorous defense may be necessary
The harm to your reputation could be significant. It’s crucial to discuss your case with an attorney who will listen and stand up for you. An attorney experienced in domestic violence defense can advise you on how to respond to protective orders and criminal charges involving harm to pets, especially when the accusation is false.