Women’s refuges really should take family pets

Women's refuges need to take in cats and dogs

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There are a lot of good reasons why women’s refuges need to take in the family cat and dog when a woman seeks refuge at one of their shelters.

One women’s shelter is doing just that. It is based in Ottawa, Canada. It is called Interval House and it is the city’s oldest shelter for women and children.

The Interpersonal Abuse Research Group says that 75% of families with children have at least one pet that they consider part of the family.

We also know that people who engage in domestic violence have a tendency to use the killing, torturing and beating of pets as a way to threat and undermine their victims. This is also a way to ensure that their victim remains in the home and it helps to keep them silent.

A cat owner who is the victim of domestic violence will be reluctant to leave home to seek refuge at a woman’s shelter in part because they will have to leave their cat or dog behind.

The Executive Director of Interval House, Kia Rainbow, says that concern for their pet by women escaping violence prevents or delays them taking action in getting out of the home into a refuge. And once they get out they sometimes consider returning to protect their cat or dog.

Therefore, Kia says it is important to consider the entire family which means including the family cat or dog (and other animal companions).

“Supporting the family to escape together is essential”.

Interval House currently have a resident who says that her son misses their cat very much and they worry about their cat being in danger. She prays that her ex. isn’t taking out his anger on the cat.

Interval House is building a special housing area in the basement of the shelter to taking cats and dogs which includes a feeding and grooming room. There will also be a pet friendly living room. In addition there will be an outdoor enclosed area where cats and dogs can exercise and play.

It is probably fair to say that all women’s refuges should follow this example.

P.S. Sometimes men are the victims, it needs to be said, although it’s relatively unlikely.

Source: Infotel.ca.

8 thoughts on “Women’s refuges really should take family pets”

  1. Massachusetts passed a law a few years ago that now allows pets to accompany women in shelters due to domestic abuse. The sad reality is that women (and men) remain in their abusive situations because they fear for their furry companion. Not all shelters here are equipped to take in pets; however, efforts are made to the best of their ability. Homeless shelters here are not mandated to accept pets with the homeless, which to me, makes no sense. Hopefully, they also will join the 21st century in that regard.

  2. During natural disasters, pets were not allowed to come when their owners were rescued. Finally, policies on taking animals with their owners changed. If I recall, there were cases of owners who would not leave their pets, and as a result, they died. Thank God policies are changing, but I would have thought women’s shelters would be much further ahead than they are by now.

    • You are correct about rescue. The change in policy resulted in many more pets being saved in subsequent hurricanes. It is something that really must happen. You can’t divorce people from their companion animals under these circumstances.

  3. I have found a shelter in Phoenix, AZ that also allows pets whether cat, dog, fish ,bird or any other species. I have been donating to them ever since I found them. I wish there were more shelters like them.

  4. Yes, I read of this dilemma years ago and I’m dismayed to hear it’s still not resolved in favor of the women’s pets, except of course for this refuge in Canada. Other countries are pulling ahead of the U.S. in ways they hadn’t before… even China (is becoming more green!). Thanks Mr. President jackass.


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