No Paw Left Behind
By Kimberly Spina, Rescue Rebuild Program ManagerNearly 50% of pet-owning women delay leaving an abusive home because they are afraid for the lives of their pets. Seventy-one 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 (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). While there are nearly 1,500 shelters for victims of domestic abuse in the United States, very few can accommodate animals. This leaves women in a position where they feel trapped – either remain in a threatening situation or leave their pets behind. GreaterGood.org’s solution? Create safe spaces where domestic violence victims, their children, and their pets can all go together. Our Rescue Rebuild program has expanded their work into creating or upgrading pet-friendly housing options for at-risk people requiring either temporary emergency shelter or long-term transitional housing. Most recently the Rescue Rebuild team headed to Refuge House in Tallahassee, FL and with the help of our partners at RedRover got straight to work! The shelter boasted a large space that wasn’t being used to its potential. The team was able to convert this one room into three: a dog kennel, a cat room, and a pet-friendly living room. The dog kennel has indoor/outdoor runs and the cat room leads to an outdoor “catio” giving pets the ability to go outside even when the owner is not around. When an owner does visit, the living room offers a “home-like” experience complete with, comfortable sitting, books, artwork to admire, and TV to relax with. With the help of many hardworking and passionate volunteers, the team was also able to build an outdoor catio and dog play yard for some outdoor fun for everyone!
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, please call the National Domestic Violence line at 1-800-799-7233.