|Tragically, in homes where domestic violence occurs, pets are often harmed by abusers to intimidate, coerce and take revenge on their battered partners. We can’t let this continue!
Read on and you’ll understand why. Recently, a woman, Kate*, and her two beloved pets -- a cat, Tigger, and a dog, Kimba -- were living with a violent man. He made fear, terror and abuse a regular part of their lives.
Kate finally worked up the courage to leave, but she faced a heartbreaking problem: There were no domestic-violence shelters nearby that would allow her to bring Tigger and Kimba with her. To protect herself, she was forced to leave her dear pets behind.
That’s why American Humane needs your donation today! Our Pets and Women’s Shelters (PAWS)® Program provides vital funding to domestic-violence shelters and safe houses so they can build or adapt facilities to accommodate their residents’ pets.
PAWS truly is a vital program. Consider what happened following Kate’s departure: Her furious husband took out his rage on Tigger and Kimba in unfathomably cruel ways. He refused to give Tigger food or water for two weeks. And Kimba was used for BB-gun target practice by the abuser’s son.
Kate returned to her abuser -- and to her pets, who had fortunately survived. But the violence did not stop, and Kate knew that she had to try to leave again.
This time, thanks to donors like you, she was able to take Tigger and Kimba with her with her!
A women’s shelter in Kate’s area had recently received a grant from American Humane’s PAWS Program, and the shelter could now accommodate pets on-site. Kate, Tigger and Kimba were finally able to leave their abuser -- and stay together.
The Pressing Need for PAWS
It may sound strange to say this, but Kate and her pets were lucky. Of the approximately 2,500 domestic-violence shelters in the United States, American Humane knows of only 54 that allow pets. That’s a lot better than when the PAWS Program was launched two years ago, and only four shelters were known to allow pets. But we still have a long way to go.
It’s not that Kate’s situation is unusual, either. According to a 2007 review of a dozen research studies, up to 48 percent of women in abusive relationships have concerns about the safety of their pets -- concerns that affect whether they stay in abusive homes.
Please help us expand our PAWS Program! Women and pets like Kate, Tigger and Kimba need your support.
If you are in an abusive relationship and need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
*Kate’s story is real, but her name has been changed to protect her safety.