Information for Victims of Domestic Violence

What can I do if my pet is being threatened?

If a pet is being threatened, you can take some steps to protect it before it is abused. One possibility is to remove it from the home; ask friends or trusted family members if they would be willing to care for your pet temporarily. You can also contact your local SPCA or humane society to see if any foster homes for animals exist in your community. You may need to contact a boarding kennel to make arrangements to have your pet boarded. Threats made against animals can be prosecuted under Section 264.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada. If you receive such threats, keep any evidence you may have (such as emails or voice mail messages) to hand over to police.

What can I do if my pet has been abused?

If a pet has been deliberately hurt, stolen or deprived of care, you can report it either to the police or to the appropriate SPCA or humane society. They will investigate the situation and take appropriate action.

Will an abuser only hurt the pet?

If someone punches, kicks, throws or hurts an animal in any way, that person has demonstrated the capacity for violence. You cannot assume that the violence will stop there. If your partner has harmed or seriously threatened your animal, you and your children may also be in danger.

What effect does animal abuse have on my children?

Some victims of domestic violence have reported that their children have become more aggressive after witnessing animal cruelty in the home. Children sometimes behave more cruelly to animals, and often become more hurtful to others (for example, bullying) or withdrawn and emotional. It’s important when talking to a counsellor that you mention any animal abuse that has occurred.

How can I keep my pet safe if I leave an abusive situation?

If you anticipate having your pet housed at a kennel or other facility, keep your veterinarian bills and pet licence receipt handy. Not only will they demonstrate up-to-date vaccinations, but they will also help prove ownership of the pet. If you are applying for an Emergency Protective Order, protect your animals by including them in it.