ALEXANDRIA, La (October 31, 2010) — “In the shelter group, nearly one in four women reported that concern for their pets had kept them from coming in to the shelter sooner.” Animal Welfare and Domestic Violence by F.R. Ascione, Ph.D., C.V. Weber, M.S. and David S. Wood, Utah State University.
Recognizing the connection people have with their furred family, many homeless and domestic violence shelters now accept pets allowing those suddenly homeless, or trying to escape from domestic violence, an option that does not include abandoning their beloved friend.
From the American Humane Society to groups working on a state level, multiple organizations are growing in order to help people not lose their pets when fleeing from an abusive relationship or when they find themselves homeless.
Pets and Women’s Shelters (PAWS)® Program, offered through the American Humane Society, is one such program. The AHS is working to create a national program dedicated to helping domestic and family violence emergency housing shelters to create safe environments that allow their clients to bring their pets with them
Artist Paul Abdul serves as a spokesperson for the PAWs program.
At their website, the group provides a state-by-state listing of family violence shelters that offer on-site housing of pets. Additionally, the American Humane Society also offers grants, up to $2,500, to domestic and family violence shelters to assist with the start-up costs to add on-site pet housing.
Working on a state level, Ahimsa House, Inc., whose name means “non-violence” is a Georgia based group dedicated to helping the human and animal victims of domestic violence. Visiting the groups website, visitors will find the Safe Havens Directory which lists, by state shelters that have facilities for the pets of domestic violence victims.
As the number of home foreclosures rises, more and more Americans teeter on the verge of homelessness. For many, in addition to worry about their ability to provide food and housing for their children, there’s also a secondary concern about what will happen to their pets.
Pets of the Homeless is a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides pet food and veterinary care to the homeless and less fortunate in local communities across the United States and Canada.
Visiting the Pets of the Homeless web site, the group offers numerous suggestions for individuals to find help for their pets, including reaching out to the Salvation Army, local food banks that may have pet food, Catholic Charities and other social organizations. Additionally, some dog rescues, a local animal control group, SPCA or Humane Society may “foster” pets until a pet owner can get back on their feet.
In Hollywood, California, Petco Place is a program offering shelter to pet-owning homeless individuals. Petco Place is part of the Path group who works to “break the cycle of homelessness by empowering people.” In addition to assisting with housing the group also provides employment and outreach services.
“For many homeless people, their pet is their only companion,” said Joel John Roberts, CEO of PATH Partners. “Asking them to give up their dog or cat in order to get housing is like asking them to abandon their best friend.”
The organizations listed, along with many others, recognized a very specific need, found a way to work together to meet it and in doing so, they truly Teamed Up For Success. Each are wonderful examples of how, by working together, the impossible becomes possible and people can now maintain the important bond they have with their pets even when they have lost everything else.
A native of Louisiana, Carla Ledbetter now lives in Alexandria, LA, where she works as the Director of Web Content for Cenla Advantage Partnership, a nonprofit organization, funded in part by The Rapides Foundation, dedicated to building prosperity in Central Louisiana. The author of three published suspense novels, she is working on her latest book, and can be found on Twitter, Facebook,Blogspot and LinkedIn.
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