Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Domestic Violence and Family Pets

Imagine living in an abusive home. Maybe you think it would be easy to “just leave.”
But what if doing so meant abandoning a beloved pet with your abuser? And what if that abuser had previously hurt your pet, or threatened to harm or even kill your pet if you were to leave?
This is the tragic situation that many women -- and their children -- are facing.
Very few domestic violence shelters offer on-site housing for pets. As a result, a significant number of women choose to stay in dangerous households, keeping themselves, their children and their pets in harm’s way.

According to a 2007 review of a dozen research studies, up to 48 percent of women in abusive relationships had concerns about the safety of their pets that affected whether they stayed in abusive homes.

No one should have to choose between their own safety and the safety of another family member, including a pet.

R17;s American Humane needs your help.

The Power of PAWS

Your donation will support American Humane’s Pets and Women’s Shelters (PAWS)™ Program, which helps women’s shelters and safe houses build and maintain accommodations for residents’ pets. The program is critical because it eliminates a significant obstacle to women leaving abusive relationships.

Since its inception one year ago, the PAWS Program has made tremendous progress. Currently, eight shelters provide on-site housing for pets and three more are in the process of doing so.
But approximately 2,500 family violence shelters have yet to consider the benefits of housing pets. We have a long way to go, and we’ll only get there with the help of donors like you.
Please give what you can to help keep women, children and pets together -- and safe!


Dallas, TX said...

Rarely are pets considered as a woman and her children leave for safety reasons.

Thank you for sharing the information and providing a link to PAWS. Bless you and what you do for so many.

Phyllis said...

For victims of domestic violence, pets can become a barrier to leaving any abusive relationship and can even become a tool of violence for an abusive partner who is willing to injure or kill a pet as a retaliation or as part of a pre-emptive strike designed to gain or maintain control by means of terrorism. The more you or your children are attached to a pet, the more that pet can be seen by an abuser as a means to control you. Pets are also often seen as being in competition with an abusive partner for your attention.

rusnest said...

Washington and Iowa are now considering legislation that would include family pets under domestic violence protections. In Washington, the legislation would allow courts to issue restraining orders against abusers that include pets as well as the abused party; and in Iowa, the legislation would not only allow restraining orders to be issued, but would also allow a court to issue an order giving the abused party full custody of the pets without a restraining order.

This is good news for pets and their owners.

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