The Pet Safekeeping Program is dedicated to helping victims of family violence leave abusive situations by providing temporary care for their pets.
The Pet Safekeeping Program bridges the gap between animal services and human services to maximize the effectiveness of family violence prevention.
In addition to providing short-term housing for pets belonging to individuals who are leaving a situation of family violence, 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.
- 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.
Many studies, including an Alberta SPCA study released in 2012, have shown that individuals may delay leaving a domestic violence situation out of concern for the safety of the family pet(s). Among our findings, the key results 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.
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.