What’s holistic family health like for the pets of individuals escaping domestic violence and seeking safe shelter for people with pets? Sacramento needs a safe house where individuals escaping from domestic violence can bring their pets. Susanville, California has such a pet-friendly place for women escaping domestic violence who take the family pet with them.
In most local safe houses, women or women and children are the majority. Nationally, 85 percent of women entering shelters talk about pet abuse in their family, according to a study noted in the article, “Grants for Pet Friendly Women’s Shelters.” Most shelters don’t allow pets. But what about shelters for pets of individuals escaping from domestic violence who want contact with their pets but must live in a separate safe house from the pets?
There are fewer services for battered males escaping domestic violence from their wives or children. Nationally, between 25-40% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets or livestock should they leave.
Nearly half of battered women with pets report they delayed entering a shelter because of concerns for an animal left behind, according to the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection. Nationally, only a few shelters allow women and their pets a safe place to escape domestic violence.
A recent study found that more than 85 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters talked about pet abuse in their family, and as many as 71 percent of battered women say their pets have been killed, harmed, or threatened by their abusers. According to Purdue University’s Center for the Human-Animal Bond, contact with animals decreases blood pressure, reduces anxiety, and provides a general sense of well-being.
Have you ever wondered what happens to pets in the home when one partner escapes from domestic violence?
Who pays for safe houses for the dogs, cats, birds, and any other pets? The AKC Human fund’s grant helps women and their pets escape from domestic violence. News reports didn’t mention anything about men escaping from female abusers and stalkers, though, probably since there are some male cases.
More women, children, and pets are knocking at doors for a safe place to stay. Most safe houses for battered women don’t have the accommodations for the family pets, such as dogs and cats. It’s harder to find when the pets are horses, or other animals that need a large space and simply can’t accompany the individual and children to a shelter or safe house for domestic violence survivors.
Pets-allowed women’s shelters across the country: Only a few received grants
In an effort to end domestic violence and keep pets safe, the AKC Humane Fund has awarded grants to eleven different “pets allowed” women’s shelters across the country the grants came just in time for last year’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Now that summer is approaching, women need to know that if they’re escaping domestic violence, they can bring the dog or cat to certain safe house shelters. Most shelters don’t take the family dog or cat. And some women escaping domestic violence have more than one pet when they leave with their children due to abuse.
The grant-recipient shelters are in Safford, Arizona; Cabot, Arkansas; Crescent City and Susanville, California; Fort Collins, Colorado; Alpharetta, Georgia; Aurora, Indiana; Spruce Pine and Whiteville, North Carolina; Spearfish, South Dakota and Spokane, Washington. These shelters allow women and their pets a safe place to escape domestic violence.
What Sacramento needs with it’s rising domestic violence rate, is a place where women and children (or men if they’re also escaping domestic abuse) can bring the family pet. At the present time, the focus is in women.
“Women entering shelters already face many challenges, and with these grants, leaving a pet doesn’t have to be one of them,” said Dennis B. Sprung, President and CEO of the American Kennel Club, according to an October 26, 2012 news release, AKC Humane Fund Grants Help Women and Their Pets Escape. “In these difficult times, having a canine or feline member of the family close by can promote healing and assist women and their families through a big life change.”
Between 25-40% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets or livestock should they leave
Nearly half of battered women with pets report they delayed entering a shelter because of concerns for an animal left behind, according to the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection. A recent study found that more than 85 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters talked about pet abuse in their family, and as many as 71 percent of battered women say their pets have been killed, harmed, or threatened by their abusers.
According to Purdue University’s Center for the Human-Animal Bond, contact with animals decreases blood pressure, reduces anxiety, and provides a general sense of well-being. Also see the site, ” Protection of Animals Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act .”
To donate to make more of these grants possible, visit the AKC Human Fund site, or email email@example.com. Shelters interested in funds for operational support or capital improvements related to the housing of pets can download an application at the AKC Humane Fund.
The AKC Humane Fundsm, founded by the American Kennel Club® in 2008, was created to unite a broad spectrum of animal lovers in promoting the joy and value of responsible pet ownership through education, outreach and grant-making. Through its programs, the AKC Humane Fund’s goals are to: support Parent Club Rescue activities; assist shelters for domestic abuse victims that permit pets; provide resources for responsible dog ownership education; contribute to non-profit organizations that support its mission. Contributions to the AKC Humane Fund are fully tax deductible as allowed by law under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.
Check out Red Rover – United Animal Nations
If you see the website, “Domestic Violence and Pets | RedRover – United Animal Nations,” you can read about some of the research showing that offenders of domestic violence often have a pattern of abuse involving all members of the household – including children and pets. When victims of domestic violence seek to escape their abusive homes they’re not only faced with the challenge of finding shelter for themselves and their children, but also for their pets.
Unfortunately, many shelters do not have the means to house companion animals and many victims are left facing the difficult decision to either leave their pets behind or remain in the abusive environment. Sadly, many victims stay in abusive homes for fear of subjecting their animals to continued abuse, if left behind. Equally disturbing, animals are often left with their abusers to face torture or even death.
What is RedRover doing?
RedRover offers financial assistance for victims of domestic violence and their pets through our RedRover Relief program. Last year, 2012 was a pivotal year for RedRover’s efforts to make it possible for victims of domestic violence to escape with their pets. Click to download a PDF summary of RedRover’s action on this issue in 2012.
What Sacramento needs is to take a look at what grants may be available this year from a wide variety of resources. For example, just looking at RedRover grants, you can see how Safe Escape Grants may be used to pay for emergency boarding and veterinary care to enable domestic violence victims to leave their batterers without having to leave their pets behind. For example, Safe Housing Grants enable shelters to create space so that pets can be housed on-site.
RedRover has awarded thousands of dollars in grants to help care for and shelter animals displaced by family violence. In one previous case, a woman and her one-year-old daughter sought shelter at their local YWCA after facing mental and physical abuse by a live-in boyfriend. But before the family could be accepted into a transitional living program, their pet Chihuahua needed to be spayed and vaccinated. A RedRover Safe Escape grant covered these services, enabling the family to stay together and live free of abuse. Learn more about available grants.
Relevant statistics on domestic violence and animal abuse:
- 52 percent of victims in shelters leave their pets with their batterers (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
- Up to 65 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave (Carlisle-Frank, Frank and Nielsen, 2004)
- 71 percent of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32 percent reported their children had hurt or killed animals (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
While most domestic violence shelters do not provide on-site shelter for animals, programs exist that help connect pet owners with safe animal havens.
Download RedRover’s flier on animals and domestic violence to share this information. Check out the domestic violence programs offering both off-site and on-site sheltering for victims and their pets, such as the Animal Welfare Institute: Safe Havens Mapping Project (off-site and on-site housing for pets), theAhimsa House: Safe Havens Directory (off-site housing for pets), and the site, Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T)™: Directory of Participating Shelters (on-site housing for pets).
Resources for domestic violence shelters:
If you are a family violence shelter interested in housing pets on-site, please contact Allie Phillips with Sheltering Animals and Families Together™ for assistance. Download the Start-Up Guide, written by Allie, that outlines how to transform your shelter to house family pets on-site.
Learn more about RedRover’s Domestic Violence Safe Housing grants, which help shelter’s fund start-up costs for on-site pet housing projects. For example, see the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Humane Fund Women’s Shelter Grants that are awarded for essential operational support relating to the housing of pets or capital improvements specifically for the housing of pets. RedRover maintains a directory of various grant programs for nonprofit organizations. For further information, check out the Animal Welfare Institute.