Target: Sherri Bennett, Executive Director of Clark County YWCA
Goal: Recognize domestic violence shelter’s inclusion of pets.
Vancouver, Washington’s YWCA program for domestic violence survivors recently made news after it received a $5600 grant to offer shelter to pets as well as their owners. Sign the petition and commend the shelter for this all-encompassing approach to protecting domestic violence survivors.
The shelter’s new program, which is undertaken in partnership with the Humane Society of Southwest Washington and the Mill Plain Animal Hospital, provides domestic violence survivors with an important opportunity. Too often, survivors of domestic violence may feel obligated to stay in a relationship for fear of what will happen to their pets after they leave, since many accommodations for survivors fleeing abuse do not provide similar accommodations for pets. Additionally, pets can provide survivors with comfort and support in a stressful, unfamiliar situation.
The plan is comprehensive, with Mill Plain Animal Hospital and the Humane Society providing veterinary care and supplies. Staff members at the shelter will also undergo training to ensure that they are properly equipped to deal with animals, some of whom might also be reeling from the trauma of an abusive household.
The YWCA joins a number of other shelters around the country that are pursuing similar programs. Sign the petition and applaud the shelter’s all-encompassing approach to helping survivors of domestic abuse heal and move forward.
Dear Ms. Bennett,
I am writing to congratulate the Vancouver YWCA on securing a grant to provide shelter for pets belonging to survivors of domestic violence and abuse. This new program is undoubtedly a step forward in terms of the services available to survivors in the Vancouver area, and I applaud its implementation.
Many domestic violence shelters simply do not have the resources to take in pets as well as people, which can be a major deterrent for domestic abuse survivors who consider leaving; fearing for the safety of their left-behind pets, they feel obligated to stay in a violent situation. This new program removes one more barrier from the already-difficult decision to leave an abusive household. In addition, pets can provide a sense of familiarity, comfort, and support to survivors navigating a stressful, unfamiliar situation, giving survivors better opportunities to heal and adjust to their new situation.
I also appreciate the level of thought that has gone into the plan, as evidenced by the partnership between the YWCA, the Humane Society of Southwest Washington, and Mill Plain Animal Hospital. It’s especially important to have adequate veterinary care for pets and training for shelter staff given that the animals might also be affected by the stress of living in an abusive home.
This program is vitally important for the health of both survivors and their pets, and I wish you the best of luck in implementing, continuing, and expanding it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: tranmautritam