The Rose Brooks Center ended its “no pets” policy after the Great Dane’s owner refused to leave her pet behind in the hands of her abuser. “Because of her incredibly dangerous situation, we made an exception for her and her dog,” says Susan Miller, CEO of Rose Brooks Center.
Now the Center has broken ground on a new wing that will include a pet shelter, making Rose Brooks Center the first domestic violence shelter in the region to welcome pets.
Unfortunately, the victim’s situation that led to the policy reversal isn’t unique.
“Over the years, our crisis hotline has received countless calls from women who desire to leave their abuser, but ultimately decide to remain in their dangerous home because they fear their abuser will injure or even kill their beloved dog or cat,” Miller says.
Other cities are tackling the same issue too. In 1994, Los Angeles’s spcaLA created the Animal Safety Net to provide shelter to animals caught in domestic violence. “ASN provides a safe haven for the animals of battered men and women – at no charge – so they may flee a dangerous situation without fear for the safety of their pet,” says Madeline Bernstein, president of spcaLA.
Bernstein says spcaLA has cared for animals from as far away as Florida, as most domestic violence shelters won’t accommodate pets. While all domestic violence shelters may not be able to add on-site kennels, Bernstein says, they could coordinate with the local SPCA or humane society to implement a program like the Animal Safety Net.