Pets in Women’s Shelters – Show Your Support
Far too often partner abuse and animal abuse go hand-in-hand and for many women, the threat of abuse to their pets makes it almost impossible for them to get themselves out of a horrendous situation.
I’ve read story after story about women involved in seriously abusive relationships they felt stuck in because their abuser threatened to harm or kill their pets if they left and they had nowhere to go where they could take their pets with them.
Pets, like children, become pawns to the abuser, a way to control someone and force them to remain in an untenable situation. Thankfully now, we are seeing some women’s shelters trying to accommodate pets so that women don’t feel trapped.
Between 71 and 85 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that a partner had threatened, injured or killed the family pet, according to a study done in 1997.
When domestic violence victims with pets consider fleeing abusive homes and there is no safe place to house their pets, they often have to choose between remaining in their homes and subjecting themselves to continued violence, or fleeing and leaving their pets behind.
The American Humane Association, the leading organization raising awareness about The Link between animal abuse and other forms of violence, has created the first national initiative to promote on-site housing of pets at women’s shelters and to acknowledge the human-animal bond, which can be crucial to recovery after a crisis. This program is called The Pets and Women’s Shelters Program, or PAWS.
Sign this pledge today to support programs like PAWS and help raise awareness about The Link between animal abuse and domestic violence.
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