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Seventy-one percent of domestic abuse victims say their abusers mistreat their pets in an attempt to control or punish them, but finding shelters that accept pets is difficult. Bayer is working to change that.
It is a sad and sad state. Domestic violence sufferers want to leave…they want to escape their miserable situation, but they worry about where they can go And take pets with them.
Even the few shelters in this country will consider pets, and this often makes abuse victims think twice about leaving their abuser to find shelter. The reality is, pets is our family, And if we can’t take her with us, most likely, we won’t go.
Bayer International Life and Wellness understands this serious problem, and has contributed $60,000 to three domestic violence shelters in the United States — shelters that also support pets for abuse victims.
They’ve also launched an online campaign to raise awareness of the Pet Safety Act (PAWS), which is being reviewed by Congress. The campaign is called PAW SS: Share the Story, and with it, Bayer hopes to highlight the heartache that abused women face when they choose between leaving their abuser or letting go of their pet.
Related: Protection Dogs Offer New Kind of Support for Domestic Abuse Victims
In surveys, nearly half of abused women refuse to leave their abusive situations because they simply don’t know what will happen to their pets if they leave. Oftentimes, pet abusers will also abuse, even kill, or at least use the victim’s love for her pet to manipulate her. Because there are not enough domestic violence shelters capable of housing and pet care for victims, the woman simply ends up staying in the situation, which is dangerous, even deadly, for her and her pet.
In 2012, Rose Brooks Center in Kansas City, MO, opened its doors to pets, becoming the first domestic violence shelter in its area to do so. Baer donated $50,000 to help fund Paws Place, a pet shelter located on the grounds of Rose Brooks, and to allow abuse survivors to be with their pets once they leave their abusive situation. Bayer has continued to fund pet care and facility maintenance costs at Paws Place, and has expanded its efforts to support abuse victims and their pets, by giving more money to other shelters that will also support pets.
Bayer is giving $20,000 to Noah’s Animal Home, a full-service boarding facility located on the grounds of Nevada’s largest women’s and children’s shelter, The Shade Tree Shelter, as well as the Urban Resources Institute (URI) in New York. URI provides treatment counseling and educational services to survivors, and in 2013, they created the URI People and Animals Living Safely (URIPALS) program, which allows abused families and their pets to live in neighborhoods. This program is one of the few in the country to offer such services and brings more awareness of the urgent need to support victims of abuse by supporting their pets in hopes of creating more programs and resources.
Related: Domestic abuse victims can find a shelter with a safe place for pets
Survivors view programs that allow them to bring in their pets as therapy and life-changing. For many, they did not come to shelters and may have lost their children, while their pets remained in abusive situations as well. Because dogs are often natural protectors, they get caught in the crossfire and need shelter as well.
Saying that survivors should never have to choose between their own safety or the safety of their loved ones (and pets). certainly Bayer hopes people can help support the PAWS Act to raise awareness. If you want to offer your support, there are important things you can do to help!
Watch the PAWS movie: Share your story and email your local congressional representatives. Sharing links will help spread awareness and let representatives know how important it is to protect innocent victims of domestic violence – both human and companion animals.