Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here. Today’s topic is not an easy one but it needs to be discussed. Unfortunately, domestic abuse is far too common. It’s even worse now due to the added stress of the Covid-19 pandemic. Pets are often caught up in the situation, being used as tools of control by the abuser or harmed as retaliation. Some victims of domestic abuse often remain in the home because they can’t or won’t leave a beloved animal companion behind.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), it’s estimated that only 12% of domestic violence programs provide shelter for pets & only 24% provide referral services for pets to be taken to local animal rescue groups.
Some places across the U.S. & Canada however, are making it easier for people fleeing domestic violence to protect their pets. As of this year, 35 states, Washington, D.C. & Puerto Rico have enacted legislation to include provisions for pets in domestic violence protection orders. Once a pet is included in a protective order, the abuser cannot legally go near the pet & will face a criminal charge if they do.
If you’re in the USA & are experiencing domestic violence & need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. They now have a program called the Safe Havens Mapping Project, which is a database of sheltering services available for the companion animals of domestic violence victims. In some cases, domestic violence shelters can house you & your pets or have vetted places where your pet can stay. Foster homes may also be available to care for your pet until you have a permanent residence. Some humane societies & veterinarians will also temporarily house pets in domestic violence situations.
In my home Province of Ontario, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association has something called the Safe Pet Program, which provides Fostering for those fleeing an abusive situation.
SafePlaceforPets.org is a resource listing pet-friendly domestic violence shelters, as well as organizations that can foster.
I hope no one ever finds themselves in need of these services, but I’m also glad they are available for those in need.
Two other resources I’d like to also mention are the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in the USA & in Canada there is the Law firm, Gartner & Associates. Both are passionate about animal welfare & creating & enforcing laws to protect them. My huMom is actively involved with both through social media as you can also be whether it’s keeping up to date on issues or taking webinar courses.
CEO Olivia ❤