Planning to leave an abusive relationship or violent situation can be frightening. Not only do survivors of domestic violence worry about themselves and their children, they worry about the safety of their four-legged family members.
“What shelter would take me, my children and our beloved dog?”
“If I don’t take my pet, will they be safe?”
“Will my partner hurt my pet?”
These can be a few of the questions that weigh on the minds and hearts of survivors planning to leave. The answer to these questions are also a deciding factor on if a survivor chooses to leave.
This is why DOVE Center created a Safe Pet Program — so survivors don’t have to choose between their safety and the safety of their furry loved one.
In order to understand why pets also need safety considerations and resources, along with survivors of domestic violence, we must realize that animal abuse goes hand-in-hand with family violence. According to the Humane Society, pet abuse is one of four predictors of an abusive partner. Perpetrators often use animal abuse as a way to control their partner.
The problem is, fewer than 4% of domestic violence shelters nationwide offer accommodations for pets. So what can we do to address this issue?
We can start by taking animal abuse as a serious indicator of other societal problems, like domestic violence. We can also participate in the useful saying of “if you see something, say something.” Report animal abuse to law enforcement and encourage local lawmakers to take animal abuse seriously. We can also donate to domestic violence programs and shelters like DOVE Center, as well as our local animal shelters.
Let’s not forget about our four-legged family members. They deserve safety too.
Written by Communications Manager Markee Pickett