Family Pets are commonly viewed as family members and companions. Unfortunately, similar to domestic abuse, abusers demonstrate power and control over the family by threatening, harming, or killing animals. They may harm pets to punish the victim for leaving or to retaliate for acts of self-determination or independence.
Unfortunately these actions can:
- Keep an abused partner from leaving
- Manipulate an abused partner to return to the relationship
- Force victims to be quiet about abuse
- Create an atmosphere of terror and fear
It has been reported that up to 40% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave. And 65% of women who report prior pet abuse continue to worry for their pets' welfare after entry into a shelter.
Here are some Tips for Victims With Pets (from the Humane Society of the United States):
- When vaccinating pets against rabies and licensing them with the town or county, it is important that registrations are in the victim's name. This will serve as proof that the victim owns the pets.
- Prepare the pets for a quick departure: collect vaccination records, pet license, medical records, and other documents, bowls, bedding.
- See if a family member or friend can care for your pet for a while.
- Contact local humane societies to see if they have a program to keep pets of victims of domestic violence.
- Ask for help from animal care and control officers or law enforcement if pets need to be retrieved from the abuser. Never reclaim animals alone.
Call our help line at 1-800-559-2927 and we will work with you for the safety of your pet.