MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – In the United States 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of emergency victim services, contraction of STI’s and more. 70% of U.S. households include a family pet. So, what happens when victims of abuse need to find safety?
“It is no secret that pets are often abused in violent homes as well. Many abusers may neglect, maim or even kill the family pet as a control and fear tactic,” said Kara Mischke, Community Relations Manager. “We often see victims having to make the difficult and traumatic decision to leave their beloved pets behind as they seek safety elsewhere – or stay in the violence home.”
The Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center (DVSAC) recently added a much-needed addition and long-term goal for providing care at their Safe Shelter - an onsite pet kenneling facility. Thanks to a grant from The Predator's Foundation, the shelter now has a state-of-the-art, spacious pet kennel which can comfortably house four furry family members. Victims seeking emergency shelter will be just steps away from their pet's kenneling space, deemed the Gnash Cave, with adequate room for walks and playtime.
"More than half of abuse victims stay in those relationships because they do not want to leave their beloved pets behind. Many domestic violence assistance programs that provide safe shelter for victims and their families unfortunately just aren't equipped with the space and tools necessary to house pets,” said Sherry Wilson, Shelter Operations Manager. “Thankfully, this will no longer be a barrier for those we serve at the DVSAC Safe Shelter! With the addition of our onsite pet kennel, the Gnash Cave, I am beyond excited that we'll have the capacity to provide safe shelter to local victims and their beloved pets."
The DVSAC is in need of pet supplies to stock up for the new pet kennel program. Like their humans, they may leave with very little supplies as they seek emergency shelter. The following items for both dogs and cats; dry food, bowls, toys, leashes, collars, beds, pet carriers, pet waste bags, and flea and tick prevention.
Donations can be brought to the DVSAC’s public office located at 1423 Kensington Square Ct. Murfreesboro, TN. To learn more about the DVSAC, available services, and ways to get involved, visit the center’s website www.dvsacenter.org or follow on social media @DVSAcenter.