Pet SafeKeeping Program
Help For Pet Owners Fleeing Family Violence
Key findings from the Alberta SPCA study showed that:
- 59% of abused women with animals were afraid to seek help out of concern for their animals
- 36% of abused women with animals reported that their abuser threatened or harmed their animals
- 85% of threats against animals were carried out
- In cases that involved children as well as threatened animals, 85% of women reported that the children witnessed the threat or harm to the animal
- In half of those cases, it was the child’s own pet
Help For Pet Owners Facing A Crisis Situation
When in crisis, pet owners are often unable to focus on their own mental and physical well-being until they know their companion animal will be safe. The Pet Safekeeping Program can provide reprieve to pet owners dealing with a life-changing event that impedes their ability to care for their companion animals.
The program is designed for individuals who have run out of safe options, a last resort program for individuals experiencing crisis and an inability to care for their animals temporarily. Some important information about the program:
- Crisis includes events such as natural disasters, loss of house due to fire or flooding, sudden hospitalization due to medical emergencies and/or mental health
- It is required that if there are family members or friends in the individual’s life who can take responsibility for the pet, or if boarding at a kennel or veterinary clinic is an option, that these options are exhausted before admittance into the program is considered
- In some cases, surrendering the animal may be strongly suggested
In addition to providing short-term housing for pets belonging to individuals who are leaving a situation of family violence, or are in a crisis situation, the services provided by the program include:
- Customized safety planning for individuals staying in or returning to a violent relationship, companion animals included.
- Crisis intervention for individuals victimized by family violence or who are unable to cope with their situation.
- Referrals to supporting agencies and community resources.
- Collaborative case management to reach personal goal outcomes, companion animals included.
- Educational outreach focusing on the cruelty connection and the Pet Safekeeping Program.
How Does Someone Access The Program?
The Pet Safekeeping Program collaborates with over 40 family violence agencies across the province of Alberta. In addition, the Pet Safekeeping Program has partnerships with over 30 animal care organizations.
Call: 780-447-3600 ext. 3750
Through our Educational Outreach we want to introduce human services professionals to topics that are critical to supporting their clients. 41% of Canadian households have at least one dog and 38% of Canadian households have at least one cat. Those statistics are comparable for other pet species as well. These numbers show that a large proportion of clients accessing human service supports will have pets, even if they do not disclose it.
It is up to the human service professional to ask the right questions. Many pet owners in crisis are unable to focus on their own needs until the needs of their pets are met. Our goal is to build knowledge and empathy through in-person presentations or through resources so that pet owners in crisis are given access to appropriate support.