April 1, 2022
For Immediate Release
Director of Stewardship and Marketing
Local Agencies Join Together to Make the Link Between Pet Abuse and Domestic Violence
Kansas City, Mo, April 1, 2022 – In general, most pet owners would agree that our pets are members of the family, and as such provide a level of unspoken healing through the unique human-animal bond. However, it’s because of this bond that they can also be used as tools of control by an abusive partner. As a matter of fact, 71% of pet-owning survivors reported that their abuser had injured, killed or threatened family pets in order to control the relationship.
It works like this; after arriving to the home, the Animal Service Officer (ASO) asks the community member, privately, three screening questions. The questions are designed to assess the level of danger in the home for both the pet and the pet owner. After the assessment, if it is safe to do so, the ASO can immediately connect the owner to a domestic violence service agency. Rose Brooks Center, south of the river, and Synergy Services, north of the river.
- Approximately 50% of survivors of domestic violence say they are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets should they leave.
- Abusers of animals are 5 times more likely to abuse people.
- 66% of sheltered children have witnessed animal abuse.
Because of these risks, finding accommodation for your pet when escaping a violent relationship is just one part of a safety plan. With this new program ICU hopes to reach more survivors through one of the most vulnerable family members – their beloved pet. ICU is currently training Animal Services Officers and hope to have successful data to share with the larger community in the near future. Official launch of the program is today, Friday, April 1.
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