Domestic Violence & Animal Abuse
If a pet is being abused, there is a strong likelihood that women and/or children in the home may also be victims of violence. Batterers often threaten, injure or kill family pets in an attempt to control, manipulate, isolate and silence their victims. Many victims resist reaching out for help for fear that their abusers will kill then their pets or them and/or because they are unsure or unable to provide safe refuge for their animals. It is important not to confront alleged abusers without the assistance of advocates who understand the linkages between animal violence, domestic violence and child abuse.
Victims with concerns for the safety of their pets or animals should have a safety plan for them. If no friend or family member is able to board your pet, contact local animal care or control agencies, women’s shelters, boarding kennels, or veterinarians to see if they will accommodate your pet. The Humane Society has established animal ‘Safe Havens’ in which veterinarians, rescue groups and animal shelters collaborate with domestic violence shelters. If you must leave your pet behind, law enforcement officials may either accompany you back to the house or retrieve it for you. Make sure your pet is current on all vaccinations, and keep vaccination and other veterinary records in a safe place. Having an animal license, proof of vaccinations or veterinary receipts in your name will help prove that you own your pet.
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