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No Pets Left Behind

dogThis question seems unthinkable to most of us.  But what about your pet or companion animal?  For people fleeing an abusive partner, the answer may not be so clear.

Research tells us that abusers often have a pattern of violence involving all members of the household – including children and pets. When victims of domestic violence seek to escape their abusive homes they’re not only faced with the challenge of finding shelter for themselves and their children, but also for their pets.  Numerous surveys have reported that between 18%-48% of domestic violence victims have delayed their decision to leave OR have returned out of fear for the welfare of their pets or livestock.

Since 2002 SPAN has worked with the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (HSBV) to offer domestic violence survivors the Safehaven Program.  The Safehaven Program allows victims to bring their animals to SPAN’s Emergency Shelter where they will be picked up by an Animal Care and Control officer and brought to HSBV.  There the animals are housed in a separate, confidential space where they receive food, exercise, medical attention, behavior assessment and especially, lots of love and care.  For most cases, foster care is a viable option while the guardian stays at the SPAN shelter.  To date, HSBV has safely housed more than 200 animals from guppies to cats, dogs and reptiles. Because of this great collaboration between SPAN and the Humane Society, that was 200 families and their animal friends who found safety.

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