Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekly Rat Facts: Animal Domestic Abuse

To most of us with pets, they're part of the family and we treat them as such. But in homes where there is violence, the family pet may become just another object to threaten or harm in order to keep the family members who are being abused from leaving.

Most shelters will not allow you to bring your pets with you when you leave an abusive partner, that is until now.

In Las Vegas, Nevada there is a place called Noah's Animal House. A place where people who need to go to domestic violence shelters can also bring the family pet if they feel the pet will come to harm if they leave. The Shade Tree Shelter is adding a place where resident's who stay at the shelter can temporarily house their family pets as well.

There will be veterinary services available and foster parents willing to take special pets such as farm animals that need more space.

Children who live in abusive families and also see pet abuse suffer even more trauma as a result of seeing their pets injured, or threatened with the possibility of injury.

Many times the abuser will threaten, harm or even kill a family pet in order to punish or control a child. A child of abuse is twice as likely to grow up to become an abuser him or herself.

Many pets who are abused will be very timid when the abuser gets near them, sometimes urinating on themselves out of fear, which will make the abuser angry and start the pattern of abuse all over again. Some animals will get aggressive after being abused.

From the HSUS - Family Violence and Animal Cruelty:

"My first client came in very apologetic and said, 'I have to go back home.' I tried to tell her she didn't,... she said, 'no, you don't understand.' She pulled out a picture that her mother forwarded her that her husband had sent...They were pictures of him chopping off the ears of her dog with gardening shears.

'I have to go home...If I want to save my dog's life and the lives of the other animals...I have to go home...' We never heard from her again."

-Wisconsin Domestic Violence Center Safe Haven For Pets - HSUS

Many abused people put off leaving their abuser because they are afraid of what will happen to their pets, and many times pets are harmed when the abused partner leaves.

85% of battered women who go to domestic violence shelters report that their is animal abuse in their home. Being that only a small number of women actually seek help from domestic violence shelters, the number of animals actually being abused is very high.


  1. That is wonderful news! During the 2010 Nashville flood, a woman near us refused to leave her home because the guys in the boats that came to get her wouldn't let her bring her dogs. Finally a guy on a jet ski came and saved her, dogs and all. Her house caught fire as they were pulling away. She went on Ellen--as Ellen put it, people need to understand our pets are our family. I couldn't leave my dog to die. I don't know what I'd do but I couldn't just leave her here.

  2. That is a great initiative, Mary. Here in India, there is almost no care for pets, let alone for pets in abusive situations. I hope we can learn a bit from you guys.

  3. I can imagine most people who are abused often have pets who receive similar treatment

  4. Awesome indeed, certainly can't leave the pets there to get abused

  5. That's wonderful they've been able to do that. I've always tried to take animals into our rescue in situations like that to do either perm placement or long term foster.


This is an Award-Free blog. It is a lovely gesture, but I am unable to comply with the terms of the awards so I have made this an Award-Free blog. Thank You for understanding.