If you have a pet, chances are you understand the deep emotional connection that can accompany the pet-human relationship. They are our family… with a bit more fur. Living with a pet can have extremely beneficial effects on their humans. For example, studies suggest that kids who grow up around animals display great social skills as adults. Pets have even been linked to reduced stress, lower blood-pressure and even a lower risk of heart attacks for their human companions! It’s pretty safe to say that pets are AWESOME!

            But sadly, there is a high correlation between domestic violence and the abuse of pets. That beautiful emotional attachment to pets can become a point of vulnerability for abusive partners to exploit. In a recent study conducted by the Urban Resource Institute, 89% of domestic violence victims with pets reported that their abuser threatened to harm or kill the animal if the victim attempted to leave. This common tactic is used to keep victims under the control of their abuser and make them too fearful to leave or seek help.

            Currently, only 35 states allow pets to be listed as a protected party on Protection From Abuse Orders (PFA’s). VIP is able to offer shelter not only to humans fleeing domestic violence, but shelter for their pets as well. Call our office if you’d like to know more about how our Advocates help survivors safety plan around their beloved pets.