20 FOR TAILS
FAMILY ABUSE CENTER TO BUILD PET SHELTER
FOR SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Family Abuse Center is aiming to raise $20,000 by August 1 to build a pet shelter on their property so no domestic violence survivor who seeks their services has to leave a furry friend behind.
As many as 48% of domestic violence survivors delay leaving an abuser out of concern for their pets, but when emergency shelters like theirs can welcome animals, that barrier to safety is eliminated. At this time, though, only 17% of domestic violence shelters accept pets.1 They’re ready to be one of them.
The Human-Animal Bond
There’s no denying that the human-animal bond is special, but most importantly for their clients, animals can play a critical role in healing. According to Johns Hopkins, “Research has shown that simply petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol, while the social interaction between people and their dogs actually increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin.”2
When the Urban Resource Institute asked survivors about the role pets played in their healing, “91% indicated that their pets’ emotional support and physical protection are significant in their ability to survive and heal.”3 Having an animal nearby helps clients talk through tough conversations, teaches trust and empathy, encourages a sense of responsibility and provides a feeling of security.
Keeping Pets Safe
Finally, welcoming pets to the shelter protects them from the unsafe person. What is often referred to as the Link tells us that there is a significant connection between human and animal violence. Especially in a domestic violence situation, abusers might target pets to maintain terror and fright, eliminate a source of support, force the family to return home or gain more power and control. Simply put, ensuring pets have a refuge keeps survivors and animals alive.
The Family Abuse Center Mission
For these reasons, building a pet shelter is an important step in their mission to eliminate domestic violence in Central Texas by sheltering victims of domestic violence and by preventing abuse from occurring through intervention and education. If you’d like to be a part of giving survivors and their pets a safe place to heal together, donations can be made by visiting FamilyAbuseCenter.org/Donate.
If you or someone you know is at risk, please call Family Abuse Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-283-8401.