Can I Still See My Pets if There’s a PFA Issued Against Me?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jul 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

If there's a protection from abuse (PFA) order issued against you, chances are you're worried about what happens next – especially if you and the plaintiff have any pets in common. Can you still see your pets while a PFA is in place, and what happens if you're concerned about an animal's welfare? PA criminal law doesn't address this issue directly but let us consider the possibilities.

Pennsylvania PFA Orders

A PFA order protects victims of abuse from further harm at the hands of their alleged abuser. The PFA prevents an alleged abuser from performing certain actions, such as:

  • Contacting the victim
  • Entering their own residence
  • Seeing their children
  • Accessing personal items

A PFA can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances.

Violating a temporary or final PFA order can have significant consequences. Joseph Lento can ensure you fully understand the terms of any PFA granted against you so you don't accidentally violate the order.

PFA Orders and Pets

While many states specifically address pets in their PFAs, Pennsylvania doesn't take this approach. Instead, under PA law, pets are considered personal property, meaning they are treated the same as your other assets.

From a practical perspective, here's what this means.

  • A PFA can prevent you from accessing your own personal belongings, including work equipment and clothes because you might be unable to enter your own residence.
  • You might be prohibited from contacting your partner, which means you can't contact them to arrange pet care or access.

If pets are considered personal property, a PFA could make it extremely challenging for you to access your cherished pets. However, don't be disheartened – you should still consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.

PFAs and Animal Welfare

Every case is unique. However, PA criminal defense attorney Joseph Lento can advise how you might try to appeal a PFA, or at least challenge its terms, to potentially facilitate access to your personal property – including pets.

On the other hand, if you're concerned that the plaintiff may neglect or otherwise mistreat the pets in your absence, it may be possible to challenge their possession of the animals. Joseph Lento will evaluate your case and explain what options are available if the pets belong to you, or if there's a real concern for a pet's welfare.

How the Lento Law Firm Can Help

Having a PFA issued against you is stressful enough without worrying about what's happening to your beloved pets. If you're dealing with a PFA and you're worried about your pet, tell Joseph Lento at the Lento Law Firm. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Joseph Lento is committed to upholding your rights – contact him now at 888.535.3686 or leave him a message online to learn how he can help.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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