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Q: Are there organizations that help place pets in loving families when people leave? Nobody wants to leave their four-legged family member at an animal shelter or left behind to get hurt. – Michelle W.
A: Luckily, there are resources available for this very need, Michelle, because you’re right, survivors of domestic violence are concerned for their pets’ safety as well as their own. In fact, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, nearly half of all survivors report staying with an abuser because they don’t want to leave their pet behind. Unfortunately, research shows anywhere from 48 to 71 percent of abused women have pets that an abuser has also harmed or killed.
Some domestic violence shelters have onsite accommodations for pets, such as outdoor and indoor kennels. Other domestic violence shelters work with local animal shelters and rescues that will temporarily house a survivor’s pet, usually for a duration of 30-90 days, and keep them safe while the survivor is in shelter or finds alternate housing (then, the survivor can get their furry family member back!).
Start here, at DomesticShelters.org. Enter your zip code to find nearby domestic violence programs. Click on any listing to see whether the program allows or offers pet shelter. Additional resources with search tools to help locate safe places for pets to stay include: The Animal Welfare Institute, Safe Place for Pets and Directory of Safe Havens for Animals.
For more information on protecting your pet while leaving an abusive partner, read “ Planning for Pets’ Safety.”
Looking for someone to speak with? Enter your location to find phone numbers for domestic violence experts in your area.
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