Safe Pets is a program designed to aid people and pets who find themselves in domestic violence situations. It offers free room & board for pets that belong to victims who are fleeing abusive situations for up to 30 days, so that they can hopefully be reunited once the victim is back on their feet.
Pets being at risk is a component of abuse that people don't often think about. Animal abuse is often present in homes with other types of abuse such as domestic or child abuse. Many abusers will threaten victims’ pets as a form of manipulation or control. According to RedRover, "Over 70% of pet-owning survivors entering shelters reported that their batterer had injured, killed, or threatened family pets. Nearly 50% have delayed leaving their abuser, or have returned after leaving, out of fear of harm to their animals."
We work with 3 area organizations: the YWCA, Ozanam Family Shelter, and Albion Fellows Bacon Center. These organizations are either not set up to accept pets or can accept very few, so without Safe Pets, many of these animals would be abandoned, abused, or displaced. Through the program, we are able to house these animals at no cost to their owner either at the shelter or in anonymous foster homes.
The VHS began this program in the summer of 1997. Since we began tracking data in 2013, the VHS has helped more than 180 victims place their animals in temporary care, averaging about 15 per year. Hopefully, by providing temporary care for the animals, owners can seek shelter and attempt to get their life back on track for themselves and their pets.
For more information on using this program, please contact either agency above or contact the VHS Director of Operations, Wende, at (812) 426-2563 extension 220.
To get help for a victim outside the Evansville area, contact RedRover's Purple Leash Project.
Click here to make a donation to underwrite the costs of the Safe Pets program.
To become a foster parent for Safe Pets animals needing housing, visit our Foster Care page.
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