Domestic Violence. Dear readers, What follows is an email I recently received. Amelia asked me to help raise awareness of this serious issue. Please share your experiences and rescue-based organizations that exist in your area.
Your Best Friend’s Best Friend, Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM
Hello, I’m hoping you can help raise awareness about some serious issues surrounding domestic abuse, in particular the tendency of abusers to physically harm pets when other family members flea a violent situation.
Below is information about Ahimsa House, a rescue based organization in Atlanta that assists with the medical care and safe placement of animals from domestic abuse situations. Do you know of any other organizations like this? If this is a topic that you think would be important to your readers, please feel free to use any of the information below
Women residing at domestic violence shelters were nearly 11 times more likely to report that their partner had hurt or killed pets than a comparison group of women who said they had not experienced intimate violence. As a result, many victims stay in abusive relationships out of concern for their pets.
The only rescue group of its kind in Georgia, Atlanta-based Ahimsa House is dedicated specifically to the safe placement of companion animals involved in domestic abuse situations.
In 2006, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Domestic Violence reported on the financial issues that were going to force Ahimsa House to close down. Merial Limited, an Atlanta-based global animal health company, responded to the article with a cash donation, allowing Ahimsa House to keep its doors open. The donation also allowed Ahimsa House to place animals in a variety of boarding facilities through a new grant-based system that houses family pets in locations closer to their owners.
Now one year later, Merial continues to support Ahimsa House by donating its veterinary products, FRONTLINE® and HEARTGARD® (ivermectin). In addition, Merial has partnered with the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine to provide veterinary care to the pets of Ahimsa House.
Those interested in donating to or volunteering for Ahimsa House should visit www.AhimsaHouse.org or call (877) 346-2992 for more information.
Many other states have programs, like Ahimsa House, that are beginning to take shape and thrive to address this growing issue. These include Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence’s Safe Pet Sheltering Program, Denton, MD; El Dorado Women’s Center Safe Pet Program, Placerville, CA; Domestic Violence Project, Inc./SAFE House, Ann Arbor, MI; New Hope for Women, Rockland, ME; Animal Welfare League of Alexandria: Safekeeping Program, Alexandria, VA; and Salt Lake County Animal Services Safe Pets/Safe People, Salt Lake City, UT. These programs are developing an informal network nationwide to meet demand with supply and share best practices.
Ahimsa House’s situation is an example of why it is so important to raise awareness about this cause. A Merial executive discovered Ahimsa House only through reading the story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that explained why the rescue organization was closing. The efforts of a few can help many through the start of a discussion that helps to educate people about the organizations similar to Ahimsa House that are also succeeding.