Today I'm writing about women. Abused women. Many women in domestic violence situations don't want to leave their homes cos it means leaving their beloved pets behind. They fear for themselves and they fear for their pets as well. Now there are shelters which allow victims to bring their pets with them. You can find a list of these shelters at Sheltering Animals & Families Together's website. SAF-T lists 30 states which house such shelters. The site also contains a link for families who need financial assistance to enable women to leave an abusive home and they have a downloadable Pet Safety Planning Guide and Start-Up Guide.
While I don't think any of my friends are in a situation like this, you may know someone who needs help. For instance, about a year ago, we got a desperate e-mail from a Twitter friend. Someone he knew quite well was in a situation where she had to take her kids and get out of an abusive home. She needed to re-home her 2 dogs. This broke her heart and ours. After a frantic search, her dogs were transported to safety in California.
New York City's Urban Resource Institute (URI) has a pilot program called People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) that allows victims of domestic violence to bring their pets into the shelter. They're starting with cats and small animals and with the support of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, they hope to include dogs by the end of the year. They're trying to raise $250,000 to retrofit their facilities with dog runs and other changes needed to accommodate dogs, as well as to launch PALS in its three other domestic violence shelters in NYC.
Do you know that more than 40% of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations out of fear for their pets? Plus, more than 70% of pet owners who enter shelters report that the abuser has threatened, injured or killed family pets. Until the PAWS project, none of NYC's more than 50 shelters allowed pets in residence.
Pets are family members and it's time shelters opened their doors to us. Don't you agree?
|I want to keep my family together.|