Recently I read an article in our local paper, The Fernandina Newsleader, by Adrienne Dessy about the “Forgotten victims of family violence”… in other words, animals. Adrienne explained the growing concern of animal abuse in domestic violence family households.
It’s hard to believe that even family pets are affected by violence in the family, but they are.
“In a 2003 study by the American Animal Hospital Association, an estimated 88 percent of pets living in households with domestic violence are either abused or killed.” This is a way that an abuser can cause even more emotional and physical abuse in the household.
So, what happens to these pets when women and children move into a protective women’s shelter? Some larger shelters have their own pet shelters where the family animals can stay and be close to their owners. Others enter into a foster care network. Unfortunately, many of these precious pets don’t even make it to live in a safe environment.
Contact your local domestic violence shelter and see what you can do to help this growing problem. Our local domestic violence center in Nassau County, Florida, Micah’s Place, has a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-500-1119.