We help survivors find safety by helping their pets find safety too.
Our Mission, Our Passion
Initially established in 2017, SafePet Ontario became a registered charity in January 2022. To date, we have supported over 450 clients and their pets escape dangerous and harmful situations through our pet-safekeeping service.
Our mission is rooted in academic research on "the link". Data shows that intimate partner violence, child abuse, animal abuse, and elder abuse, tend to co-occur in families. Abusers inflict violence or threats of violence on family pets as a way of punishing, controlling, and coercing their human victims. This causes inter-generational trauma: children see or hear their pet being abused, and the cycle of violence often continues as those children come of age.
SafePet Ontario doesn't work alone to address these issues. Our organization works collaboratively with a network of like-minded organizations and care providers across the province to ensure comprehensive support for survivors.
Even with this network of partners, the urgent truth is that the current need for our services is beyond what we can currently address.
The number of victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking in Canada is increasing year over year, and the pandemic and inflationary crisis have only made these numbers escalate. Consequently, SafePet Ontario is seeing an unprecedented number of applications for our services.
Safe pets mean safe families.
It's that simple.
"When animals are abused, people are at risk.
When people are abused, animals are at risk."
Phil Arkow, National Link Coalition (USA)
SafePet Ontario's mission is two-fold:
We provide pet-safekeeping for survivors of family violence and sex trafficking.
We educate frontline workers (law enforcement, veterinarians, Victim Services, VAW workers, and child protection staff) and the public about the "link" among animal abuse, elder abuse, child abuse, and intimate partner violence in families.
How do we do it?
Apply for Program
Survivors in need of our help fill out an application form here. Eligibility is verified and the search for the right temporary home for your pet(s) from our list of approved fosters begins. In emergency situations where you need to leave immediately, we can potentially arrange a week-long "urgent hold" at a confidential location to keep your pet(s) safe while we look for a foster.
You or your caseworker drop-off your pet at one of our confidential drop-off locations throughout Ontario. Our team performs a wellness exam and updates any necessary vaccines, and then one of our volunteers takes your pet to their new temporary home.
Foster Family TLC
Our foster family cares for your pet(s) for as long as you need (up to one year). Urgent veterinary care is provided, with no charge to you. We send you monthly updates on your pet(s) so you can be assured that they are safe and well looked-after.
NOTE: clients are not able to visit pets while they are in our care.
Reunite with Your Pet(s)
Once you let us know that you are re-established in a safe environment, we coordinate a reunion with your pet(s) at a confidential location close to your new home.