By Misty Shenberger
Violence is not limited to people and often pets are threatened or injured by a partner as a way to control family members. Studies show that 71 % of battered women reported their pets had been threatened, harmed or killed by their partners. As many as one-third of domestic violence victims delay leaving their situation out of concern for their pet’s safety. Pets are true friends to us, to our children, and a comfort during a traumatic situation. As their friend, it is our responsibility to protect them and to assist the victims, who due to unfortunate circumstances, need help. The Humane Society of the United States is working with legislators to support The Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS). This would protect women and their pets by expanding domestic violence protections to include pets and by developing a federal grant program to assist in obtaining safe shelter for the pets. More information on this act can be found at humanesociety.org
Here in Lancaster County there is a program in place through the Domestic Violence Services called Safe Pets. Their program, Safe Pets, helps to coordinate confidential, temporary foster homes for pets while a victim of abuse is leaving the home and in transition and does not have an alternative caretaker for the pet. Safe Pets also provides assistance and planning to people who are thinking of leaving an abusive home with a pet. Insuring the pet has everything it needs to help coordinate the most suitable temporary home. Safe Pets is looking for volunteer foster homes to provide a temporary safe home until the pet is able to be returned to its family. Please contact Lorie Reider at 717-299-9677 for information regarding fostering, or donations. This number is also a direct number to the Domestic Violence Services if ever needed for yourself, or a friend.