Domestic violence affects our pets’ safety too.
By Justyne Yuen-Lee
“Between 18 to 48 percent of victims of domestic violence delay leaving their batterer out of fear for the welfare of their pets.” – The American Kennel Club
As much as we love sharing inspiring pet stories, we also aim to raise awareness for issues involving animals and their owners. One of the issues we need to discuss is domestic violence and how it affects all victims – including our pets. What a lot of people don’t know is that October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As you will learn in this article, nearly half of the United States adult population have been victim to physical aggression by an intimate partner. That’s a huge number. Most victims think that they have nowhere to turn and must stay with their partner for various reasons. Victims with pets have yet another difficulty leaving as there are few shelters who accommodate pets.
These pet owners are left with a difficult choice: abandon their pet for safety or stay in the abusive relationship.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has some stats which illustrate the magnitude of this issue:
“1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”
“Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).”
“Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.”
Without going further into more devastating facts and figures, it goes without saying that domestic abuse is a real and serious issue. As someone who has escaped an abusive relationship, I can say that it does take a huge toll on a victim, both physically and emotionally. You never feel safe or sure about any of your thoughts or actions and you are manipulated into believing that the unhealthy relationship is all love.
Luckily, a new campaign is aiming to provide help and shelter for pet owners in situations of domestic abuse.
What’s rarely a part of the domestic violence conversation is the very real issue of pets involved in these situations. The American Kennel Club has started the AKC Humane Fund to raise awareness for victims and their pets.