Abusive partners also can place pets at risk
October 13, 2008
Imagine you are stuck in a horrible situation ” you recognize that your relationship with your partner is unhealthy and abusive, your heart is hurting and you want to get out of the situation, but you are unsure of your options. You have no money to step out on your own, you are afraid of what your abuser might do if you do leave, and you have a pet.
Many local women find themselves in this situation. They are afraid and feel their only choice is to leave their animals with their abusers while they try to rebuild their lives; they have every reason to be afraid. When abusive partners seek control and dominance, the victims’ animals become easy targets. Animals often are hurt or even killed by abusers as a way to deepen the animal owner’s pain and fear of the abuser, which increases the abuser’s control over the victim. The risk to human and animal victims is higher just after the abuser and victim separate.
The ASPCA recently reported a story from Brooklyn, N.Y., where a woman returned to the apartment she had shared with her former boyfriend to collect her belongings, including her 3-year-old dog. The man would not let her in and began tossing her belongings out the third-story window, including the dog, which fell to its death.
This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center would like to thank our local volunteers who provide temporary foster care for pets of all kinds for women who are escaping abuse and living in our Emergency Domestic Violence Shelter. Their dedication ensures that the human victims have peace of mind knowing that they are not placing their beloved animals at further risk by trying to keep themselves safe.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent for pets while their owners rebuild safer, healthier lives, please contact Anna at (530) 542-7633 or at ARichter@sltwc.org.
” Anna K. Richter is development director at the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center.
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(The Women’s Center business office was financed through a low-cost loan from the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.)