It is well established that interpersonal violence victims often delay their departure from their abuser because of the desire to protect their beloved pet(s). Victims should develop safety plans for themselves and for their beloved pets. Making decisions about who, what, when and how in a potential emergency departure is extremely important for all victims in a household, including the pets.
The below information has been adapted from the Animal Welfare Institute’s Safety Planning for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims web-page.
If a victim is planning on staying, ongoing or if they have already left there are critical aspects of a safety plan for your pet that should be considered and communicated with trusted family members and/or friends.
If the victim is staying…
- Obtain a license under victim’s name
- Keep vet records in victims name
- Other documents of ownership (such as receipts for food, medical care, etc)
If the victim is planning their departure…
- Identify safe shelter for pet (Colorado Safe-Haven shelters , friend, family, veterinarian, animal shelters)
- Pack a leash, food, medicine, ownership documents, vet records, toys, and bedding
- Include animal in your emergency safety plan. How will you get them out of the house safety?
If the victim has already left….
- Change your veterinarian
- Do not walk the same route or at the same time every day
- Keep animal inside. Do not leave them unattended outside.