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The Journal Gazette

  • FILE: Domestic Violence Awareness Month participants toss flowers into the St. Marys River in Fort Wayne.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 11:27 am

Domestic violence bill passes

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana House approved a bill Monday that allows victims of domestic violence to more easily extricate their pet and wireless service from an abuser.

Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, said an abuser uses both to have power and control over a victim.

She said Senate Bill 323 gives some of that back.

The legislation allows a victim with a protective order in place to get a judicial order allowing a wireless service provider to separate service from a plan without the account owner’s consent.

McNamara said some abusers track their victim’s phone calls and locations, and the bill allows a clean break with the person keeping their number, contacts and other information.

Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, spoke about the pet portion of the bill.

A former police officer, she told of a man who years ago took his wife and children on a drive after church and threw their puppy out and killed it.

"If dinner isn’t on the table by 5 o’clock and your grades aren’t better, that’s what’s going to happen to you," the man said, according to Lawson.

The bill allows a victim to retrieve a pet with the aid of law enforcement, and a judge can issue an order that prohibits the abuser from hurting or hiding the animal.

The bill passed unanimously and returns to the Senate, which can accept the changes made or send it to conference committee for final negotiation.