Hope for those with domestic violence orders who own pets

Reports of domestic violence can often seem depressing, but one domestic violence shelter is working to bring hope and positivity to the lives of those they serve by opening an animal kennel on shelter grounds. Pennsylvania residents who have ever had to obtain domestic violence orders likely know that choosing to leave an abusive spouse often means making a difficult choice: getting out of an abusive situation by leaving their beloved pet behind or staying put. For those who love their animals as if they’re part of the family, this can be an untenable decision to make.

Many of them know all too well that their pet could suffer harm at the hands of the spouse they’ve left behind. Unfortunately, though, most shelters that serve domestic violence victims simply don’t accept family pets. They may not have the facilities or the resources to properly accommodate a domestic violence victim’s furry friend. More shelters across the country seem to be taking this into account, however.

The Paws for Peace Kennel might be the first like it in Central Florida, but it now numbers one of approximately 70 in the country. It will be housed on the grounds of Harbor House, an emergency domestic-violence shelter, and will reportedly open sometime in the fall of 2012. One woman spoke at a sneak-peak event showing off the new building about how hard it was to make the agonizing decision to leave her treasured cat behind when she fled an allegedly abusive situation.

For victims of domestic violence like her, this shelter represents hope for a better, less tumultuous future as much as it is a physical building. Likewise, Pennsylvania residents shouldn’t have to fear leaving behind pets they love who might suffer without them. Shelters like this one will spread that hope and positivity to those leaving an abusive environment behind, especially those whose situations are so severe that they’ve had to obtain domestic violence orders against their spouses.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Domestic violence animal shelter: A unique animal shelter for pets of fleeing domestic violence victims will soon be open in Central Florida,” Bianca Prieto, July 27, 2012