“Far too often people stay in violent relationships because they do not know what to do with their pets or fear they will be harmed if they leave. I do not know if you are familiar with the story of Chewy the chihuahua but his owner left him in an airport bathroom because she was a survivor fleeing a domestic violence relationship and the plane would not let her take her dog with her.
Here are some relevant statistics for your research: 52 percent of victims in shelters leave their pets with their batterers (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) Nearly 50 percent of domestic violence victims have delayed leaving their abuser out of fear of harm to their animals (Carlisle-Frank, Frank and Nielsen, (2004). Pets as Pawns. ) 71 percent of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims.”
Every Woman’s Place, 2/20/2020
“Yes, there is definitely a need for this. Unfortunately we do not allow clients to bring their pets to the shelter. We do know that not wanting to leave their pets can be a reason for clients not leaving their situation. At this point, we have not looked into this in too much detail but I anticipate that some clients have more than just cats and dogs. We have had clients who have these pets as emotional support animals but even in those cases, we do not permit them in the shelter largely due to space, possible allergies of other clients and liability reasons.”
MSU Safe Place, 2/17/2020
“Do you hear of women wishing they wouldn’t have to leave their animals? Yes Have you heard of women not leaving their abusive partner because of their animals? Yes. We’ve also heard from people returning to abusive situations due to pets. Finally, do you ultimately feel there is a need for this for domestic violence victims? Yes, definitely.”
Green Gables Haven, 2/19/2020
“We do NOT allow pets at shelter – allergies for others, cleanliness, etc. We have an agreement with our local Humane Society who will pay for fostering or kennels. Yes, there is a need and it would be wonderful to see an organization that victims know they can trust with their pets.”
YWCA West Central Michigan, 2/19/2020
“Do you allow women to bring animals to your shelter? Generally speaking, no, although we have allowed some ESA animals on a case by case basis. Do you hear of women wishing they wouldn’t have to leave their animals? Yes. Have you heard of women not leaving their abusive partner because of their animals? Yes. What is the occurrence of any of these situations? We only recently started tracking this. Based on the numbers we gathered prior to applying for the Red Rover grant, we estimated 25 animals/year that would need safe boarding. Since starting our program June of last year, we have boarded 12 animals. Finally, do you ultimately feel there is a need for this for domestic violence victims? YES. There is a need. We are hoping to be able to expand who we can serve as the program develops. There really isn’t another option that we know of in West Michigan."