When a survivor of abuse has the courage to leave their partner they also have to face the dilemma of leaving their pets behind, or staying in the relationship to protect their pets. Approximately 52 percent of victims in shelters leave pets with their batterers, and up to 65 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave.
One of the ways a perpetrator can exert power over their partner is by abusing their pets, so much so that over 50 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their abusers threatened, harmed or killed a family pet.
If a survivor of violence is able to escape abuse with their pet, one more burden is lifted. Also, the survivor will be able to heal quicker with an animal companion. Numerous studies show that animals offer therapeutic benefits such as comfort and ease of anxiety. Having pet access in a shelter will also make the survivor feel more at home and it will help him/her adapt to the situation quicker.
As of June 2017, we are please to say that Lorrie’s House is now able to accommodate survivors of violence and their pets.
To learn more about the importance of this program, take a look at the Sheltering Animals and Families Together Program, which is what we’ve adapted for our shelter.