Thursday, August 15, 2013

Keeping Pets Safe in Family Crisis

Photo Credit Alberta SPCA

Tim Battle, of Alberta SPCA   was a recent guest on PAWsitive Radio  talking about Pet Safe Keeping.  Tim reported that "a study released by the Alberta SPCA in November 2012 revealed that 59% of pet-owning women in emergency shelters delayed leaving the abusive environment out of concern for their pets. In 36% of the cases, animals were threatened by the abuser – and 85% of those threats were carried out. Interviews with victims show how difficult it can be for women with pets or livestock to leave a violent relationship, and how the animals suffer as an abuser controls the victims by threatening or harming the animals.  In addition, children often witness the animal cruelty – and in half of the situations it’s the child’s own pet that is threatened or harmed."

Many years ago I was the Executive Director of a family crisis society and I heard many stories about how pets were abused in the home, used as control tactics or to emotionally abuse family members by threatening harm to the pet. Prior to this work, I was not aware of this issue. It was reassuring to hear about the Alberta SPCA plans and solutions for addressing this issue.

Photo Credit Alberta SPCA
In the interview on PAWsitive Radio, Tim talked about how the Alberta SPCA is working with many other agencies to help and create solutions for both animal and human victims of domestic violence. Tim shared that a major goal of the partnership, which is known as the Alberta Alliance for the Safety of Animals and People (AASAP), is to"provide a province-wide pet safe-keeping network for family violence victims while they are in emergency shelters."  The group includes professionals from many arenas, including: law enforcement, social services, veterinary services, health, animal welfare, women’s shelters, legal education and other communities.

The goal is to begin  a pilot project in the Edmonton region, with the hope that it can expand to the whole province. Alberta SPCA has applied for community funding through Field Law, 

You can get involved in any of these ways:
- Visit the above link and vote for this project
- share the above link in your circles and encourage your contacts to vote
- particiapte in the discussions on social media

To learn more about Team Toby make sure you follow us on these links:

PAWsitive Radio (all things Pets)

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