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Dog protected by restraining order under new Mass. law

Panzer, above, is the first dog in Massachusetts protected by a restraining order under a new state law.
CBS Boston
(CBS) MARSHFIELD, Mass. - An eight-year-old lab mix named Panzer is the "poster dog" for a new Massachusetts law recognizing a link between domestic violence and animal abuse, CBS Boston reports.

Panzer's owner fled to a shelter herself to escape abuse, then, under the new state measure, filed a restraining order to protect her pet .

"He's a good dog, he didn't deserve that," the abuse victim tells CBS Boston.

Panzer is now safe with a foster family.

"Animals are often used as a tool for emotional abuse," says Marshfield Police Chief Phil Tavares. "The batterer, the abuser will use an animal to seek revenge on or try to control one of the victims."

According to CBS Boston, more than 70-percent of abused women say their abuser either threatened their pet or actually hurt the animal. Police say that's why many victims don't leave.

The hope is the new law will change that, empowering victims to leave and giving their pets a safe haven.

CBS Boston reports Panzer's owner couldn't stay in Massachusetts because all of the state's domestic violence shelters were full. Once she and her son find permanent housing, they expect to be reunited with their pet.