Pet Safekeeping

Emergency Protection Orders

Get Out, Keep Them Safe Too! 
Including Animals In Protective Orders

Abusers threaten companion animals to control their victims.

The threats scare victims into staying.

And this tactic works.

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;
  • 85% of threats against animals were carried out;

You can do something about it.

If your partner will not let you take the pet(s) you can apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) that includes your pet(s).

The police cannot force your partner to give you the pet(s) if you do not have the pet(s) included on the EPO.

To apply for an EPO that includes your pet(s) please note the following: 

For your lawyer

  • The use of PAFVA does not amount to a protection order for the animal. Rather, the question is how animals may be considered in the conditions of protection orders for victims of domestic violence. 
  • Direct protection for animals in domestic violence may also be addressed by Alberta’s Animal Protection Act and the following sections of the Criminal Code of Canada: 444 & 445 (injuring or endangering), 445.1 (causing unnecessary suffering), 446 (neglect and abandonment) and 264.1(1)(c) (uttering threats).  

For you

Tell your lawyer about threats and show them evidence to request that any protective order includes provisions for the safety of your pet or livestock:

  • Make note of the dates and extent of threats
  • If there is evidence of the threat (letter, email, text, recording), keep that evidence.
  • Take pictures of any injuries.
  • Keep evidence of veterinary bills and pet supplies for which you paid.
  • If there are any ownership papers in your name, be sure to keep a copy and include it in your safety plan. 

If you have questions about the Pet Safekeeping Program, you can e-mail Pet Safekeeping petsafekeeping@albertaspca.org or call 780-447-3600 ext 3750.

How to
Get Help

How to Access the Program

If you are a pet owner fleeing an abusive home situation and you are concerned about leaving pets behind, please contact us.

Safety Planning

Escaping a relationship plagued with abuse is complicated. Let us help you get started.

Warning Signs

Family violence can take many forms including physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse.

Program Partners

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