Something I have never thought of....

@byfaithonly (10716)
United States
April 2, 2007 6:28pm CST
Consider the dark reality for battered women with pets: 1) An estimated 25 to 40 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they worry about what will happen to their pets or livestock; 2) 83 percent of directors of the largest shelters for battered women in the U.S. indicated women entering the shelters discussed incidents of pet abuse in the family; 3) 71 percent of pet-owning women in shelters reported that a pet had been threatened, injured or killed by their abuser; and 4) 49 percent of pet-owning victims who fled their abusers and sought shelter continued to worry about their animals after entering shelter. 5) Women seeking to flee an abuser are already frightened for their lives and the lives of their children; they need to know that their pets will be safe as well. I grew up most of my life in an abusive home, I married not once but twice abusive husbands, for the last 10 years I have worked with domestic violence victims and not once have I ever thought of the pets involved in those relationships. Am I horrible? Have you ever thought of the pets? Have you personally known someone in this situation? Do you have any solutions or ideas of what might be done?
16 people like this
23 responses
• United States
3 Apr 07
Pets are like humans/children to some people, but I don't see that ever being a consideration for me nor have I ever known anyone that was that concerned about them...I take that back. I have a friend who recently went through an ugly divorce and they have a chocolate lab that they got while they were dating. Part of their divorce does list visitation for that dog. Go figure...
4 people like this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
3 Apr 07
I have heard of divorced couples fighting over a family pet although I've never known anyone personally who actually had visitation written into their divorce.
@mssnow (9493)
• United States
3 Apr 07
I was in an abusive relationship once. But, I got out quickly because I knew that it was not right and the man had not made me feel like I was worthless. I knew I could do better .I know woman who get in them and stay. They stay for many reasons. Mostly they grew up in those kind of situations so its normal for them. But I never thought of pets either. I can imagine what the abuser would do to a beloved pet, if he didn't get what he wanted. It would be a very hard thing to go through. Its too bad shelters don't allow pets. There should at least be a place for the pets to go if the woman needs to flee her abuser. Maybe someone with money who loves animals could start a shelter for pets of abused woman. Something to think about.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
3 Apr 07
It's sad to say but I know many places don't have shelters for women and children much less pets - I think both areas need attention and funding. That has always been one of my thoughts if I "won the lottery" would be to open a shelter for abused women. We do have one in our town but I also know they often don't have space available. Now I will add to my list to include "Pets Allowed".
3 people like this
@LittleMel (14055)
• Canada
2 Apr 07
What has the world come to? How is it that someone hurt another person and then this person's pets, as if the pets have something to do with the owner's choice of action in terms of their relationships with another human being? No I have not known anyone in this situation, but I'm pretty sure this was why most of my pets in my homeland were killed intentionally. Sorry I don't think there is better solution than putting animal abusers whatever the reasons are in jail, just like human abusers. Let's see if these people can survive among their own.
4 people like this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
2 Apr 07
I agree with you, I think abusers should be put in jail and if they abuse animals they should get added time for that also... What kind of man is it that abuses women, children, and animals - lower than an animal if you ask me.
4 people like this
@linda345 (2661)
• Canada
3 Apr 07
My first marriagae was an extrememly abusive marriage. Now as I remember back, he used to hurt the dog too. I remember one night while he was beating me, he bobbed the dog over the head with his fist. My friends took me out of the house that night, but I went back because I was worried about the dog.
3 people like this
@Kylalynn (1773)
• South Africa
3 Apr 07
Women coming from abusive relationships are bound to worry about the pets as they have probably protected the children and the pets when the abuser was on the rampage. Only they know how cruel the abuse is. It would be nice if there could be shelters that the pets can attend to. I am sure a dog food company would be only too willing to donate food for the animals. I have heard of people getting divorced and giving the pets away. Neither party wanted them. The places of safety these ladies stay could hold fun days, prettiest dog, cutest dog, cleverest cat etc. That could raise some money for the dog food. Also the general public could attend, It could be a very entertaining day. I really hope everything turns out well for the women who have left their abusive men behind.
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
3 Apr 07
I have seen this happen. The abuser abuses the pets to control the the victim. They might not physically abuse the spouse but they will the pet which of course is more emotional abuse on the spouse. If the spouse leaves of course they leave the pet there unless they can find some other arrangment for them. It's rough. Abusers know what to do in order to control their victim. They know what buttons to push, how to make them feel the worst possible and how to manipulate them. It's what they do. If they can they will use pets, children, family members, whatever is available. Until the abused spouse is willing to leave it doesn't matter. They will be an excuse for them to stay; it's just what they do. Although this may sound callous the victim needs to put their life first. Release the pet to the wild if need be, it would probably fair better then being left with the abuser. Yes it would be hard to do but the battered individual has to come first and they need to get out of the situation. It would be nice if abuse shelters took pets. It would remove one more excuse for them but if they don't then they need to think of their lives first and go on from there.
• Singapore
3 Apr 07
Hello Faith, I am sorry to hear about your unpleasant experiences. Unfortunately I have no clues how we can prevent wife abuse (or husband abuse - this is on the rise in Singapore). The violence streak may be something in the genes but though our DNA has been mapped, we still don't know enough to do more. Peace... if only the world can no peace. No war, no poverty, no violence. Wife/husband abuse will then cease to be an issue.
3 people like this
@tammyr (5956)
• Etowah, Tennessee
3 Apr 07
I have an idea. I am going to call The Hope Center. It is the local battered/abused womans shelter. I will ask if they have a program to make arrangements if it is possible that they bring the pet. There are foster programs at the Humane Society/Animal Shelter. If they could work together then it would be possible to get them with a foster family. Then when they get on their feet they can get the dog back. I am on the foster list and they called once, but they needed someone who was not working to feed the litter. I don't remember if it was kittens or puppies but I was working and could not do it. I can almost bet there are other people like me on the list and would love to keep the pet while they got their lives in order. Thank you for inspiring a very good idea. I am also going to send this link to a friend of mine. I bet she would like this idea.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
3 Apr 07
Well you inspired me, the last I knew our women's shelter didn't have arrangements for pets but we also have a humane society and I'm going to do some calling myself. I know there is a foster pet program for unwanted pit bull dogs why not one for pets of abuse victims.
@tammyr (5956)
• Etowah, Tennessee
3 Apr 07
I was not able to call today. I can not talk above a whisper and thought it would be best to call when they can hear me!LOL I go to the Dr tomorrow and will be better soon I hope.
• United States
4 Apr 07
I want to commend you for your work with domestic violence victims. My cousin was in a relationship where her husband put her in the hospital 4 times before she left him. In reference to pets, I think that unless the woman is able to take them with her when she leaves, she will worry about them. I don't think you are horrible for not thinking of the pets. I think that most people worry about the woman first and the pets later. Even though the pets may be a major worry for the woman, most people are more concerned with her and any children escaping first.
2 people like this
@MsTickle (24977)
• Australia
4 Apr 07
I had a really sad (really long) story to tell here Faith but when I came back to check it was not here. Neither were my last three responses. It brought back some very sad memories of my beautiful german shepherd, Kaiser who was left behind when I fled my violent husband. I can't write again what happened..it's too upsetting...sorry.
• United States
3 Apr 07
What an interesting topic. I mean, I've worked in advocacy for women before, and not once did I think about the aspect of pets. I love my dog, cats, and bunny rabbit... I couldn't imagine even for a moment about leaving them behind, much less leaving them behind knowing that they might be injured or killed or mistreated. Thank you for making me think... not a lot on the internet does that much anymore. Good points, great facts, and excellent topic for discussion.
2 people like this
@raydene (9875)
• United States
3 Apr 07
If the abused doesn't have anyone to take the pet it is just left and is usually takes the brunt of the abusers anger in finding his mate missing..I've heard so horror stories!The best way to help the pets of these abusive homes is awareness.I have often thought of this situation myself.We have alot of people that run shelters but the ideal thing would be to have a specialized shelter that would take these pets ,care for them until the abused could take them back.I do know people that go through abuse for years because they and their kids can get out but the domestic abuse shelters won't take their pets who are a part of their family.I am aware of the problem but am not (disabled) in a position to help...I have this and a couple of other animal issues that I have been writing about lately trying to get it noticed.Hug for you Hon,you have a good heart..I'm sorry you've had so much distruction through your life..I know what it's like .It sounds like you have gotten on the other side of it.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
4 Apr 07
Thank you for the hug, yes I am grateful for being out of the bad situations but now my heart aches for those who are not - there are so many issues involved it's not easy for someone who hasn't lived it to understand. I'm popping over to your profile to check some of your posts - my priority will always be children and women but pets are right up there with them.
@charms88 (7543)
• Philippines
3 Apr 07
Oh faith, I'm really sorry to hear about what you had gone through. But am glad you came out stronger than ever. I have a friend who was married to a man who often used his words as a weapon. My friend have been suffering for 7 years now. I can't remember the number of times she kept running to me for help. In fact, she went into hiding just last night and informed me of what happened to her recent fight with her husband. I am now trying to look for ways to straighten this matter. I have no choice but to involve myself with their marital squabbles. I hope I can be able to get them to settled this matter.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
4 Apr 07
Well, looking back now I simply look at my past experiences as 'growing pains' and have been blessed to have learned and am able to use what I learned to help others, maybe not millions but as far as I'm concerned one person saved is worth all I've gone through. As for your friend that old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is a big lie. Words can often do even more damage than physical abuse.
@kathy77 (7488)
• Australia
3 Apr 07
Oh yes this is right that a lot of battered woman have pets that they adore and it is very hard to know what will happen to them when they escape their abusers. They worry if they will still be alive and whether they will see them again or not. No I do not think that you are horrible maybe the thought just never entered your mind until today. Yes I have thought of my pet when I had to escape abuse. But I did phone my neighbour and she assured me that my pet was alright and I knew that she would not lie to me and then she looked after my pet until I could find suitable accommodation for me and my pet.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
4 Apr 07
How wonderful that your neighbor was willing and able to help with your pet - many neighbors today would just say they didn't want to get involved.
@jennybianca (12915)
• Australia
3 Apr 07
This is incredibly sad. These poor battered women have enough to worry about, without having pets to consider too. Really I think shelters for abused women should consider taking their pets in too, or at least making an arrangement with a local animal shelter. Many of these battered women have children too, and it is essential to the recovery of children's emotions, to have access to their pets.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
3 Apr 07
You bring up another important point that wasn't even mentioned - the emotions of the children. Their already tramatised by living in an abusive home, are uprooted from their home and friends, and then to have to leave their pets also. I am sure having their pets available and also safe would be a termendous help to their adjusting.
@gberlin (3836)
4 Apr 07
I never thought about the pets either. I guess everyone's first concern is for the wife and children. There are places that I have heard of that take care of abused or unwanted pets. I wonder if when social workers or whoever goes in to rescue an abused woman and her kids if they should ask about their best. I am not surprised that the abusive person would also abuse animals. But it seems that there is no voice for the animals in such cases.
@gharinder (2044)
• India
4 Apr 07
well byfaith i admit truly that i too never thought of the pets. i knew that womens are mostly the victim of their husbands and are abused by their husbands but as for pets it never ever even occurred to my mind, well i always wonder how people could be so emotionless. personally i am not in touch with any person who has been abused or incidents related with pets. i think i best thing could be done is move out of such relationship. and byfaith i wish all the good for you.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Apr 07
It is a shame that abused women can not be assured that their pets will be taken care of. A lot of times the pet is the reason the women stays because the abuser will tell the women he will hurt her pet if she leaves. The connection between the pet and their owner is very strong. Espeically in the case of abuse. I have known one person who was abused but she got out of the situation a long time ago. She told me that her ex husband had told her he would kill her dog if she ever left him. A Solution for that would be hard to come up with. Not impossible but hard.
1 person likes this
• Hong Kong
3 Apr 07
ya,sounds horrible when I am reading the stastistical data. now home abuse has become an social problem even when we human beings take it for granted that we are more civilized than before. Usually Women are the victim in familly abuse. Women always focus more on familly life, and are more benevolent than man. maybe they regard the pets just as their own kids. So whenver her kids or pets are pushed into a dangerous situation, she may feel sad. As for me, a male, I do like pets, and I hate those husbands who always seek pets or kids as the release of their rage. That's not a real man. I really have no idea about the solutions of this kind issues because I really don't know why those abuser do that. Pets are so lovely, and they are the best friends when we are lonely. They can't talk but I do think they know what we feel. How do those abuser have the heart to do harm to those poor animals. I really can't understand them. hope God would give them the punishment they deserve!
@winky73 (1396)
• United States
3 Apr 07
I can understand why someone would not want leave their pet behind....even if that means suffering through a abusive relationship.A lot of times the animal is the only comfort these woman have and they form a strong bond....making it very hard to leave them behind.The state of Michigan has some pretty harsh laws for animal abuse and when you get a woman to a shelter and she says her husband is abusing the family pet.....have the Humanesociety check it out.If they can proof a case of abuse....the following can happen....Michigan, Penal Code 750.50 Fellony Provision - Yes Maximum Sentence for First Offense Cruelty: Fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to 93 days, up to 200 hours community service. Malicious Cruelty: Fine up to $5000, imprisonment up to 4 years, up to 500 hours community service. So you have the Law on your side and I'm sure there are a lot of private organiztions that would gladly step in and help out.