Pets are family. Abusive parties know this and use the strength of the human-animal bond against their victims. Coercive and controlling behaviours such as not allowing the victim to feed their pet, not allowing the pet to receive medical attention, physically or sexually abusing the pet, threatening to harm or kill the pet, or threatening to give the animal away, are all examples of how abusers use pets as part of their campaign of abuse.
This occurs in family violence, intimate partner violence, and in human trafficking. If there are children in the home, the consequences of these types of abuse are truly intergenerational.
Safe pets mean safe families. It's that simple.
Serving the "forgotten"
48% of survivors
In Ontario, 48% of survivors of family violence delay leaving their abuser, or do not leave their abuser at all, because they fear leaving their pet behind with the abusive party. Further, 89% of Canadian Violence Against Women shelter residents indicate that there has been some form of animal abuse in the home.
SafePet Ontario works collaboratively with veterinarians, police officers, Violence Against Women shelters, Victim Services, and other frontline workers across the province to provide comprehensive support to these survivors. We cover the cost of veterinary care for the animals in our program (often with assistance from The Farley Foundation), and our service is provided free of charge to all clients.
Who We Are
SafePet Ontario consists of approximately 150 foster families throughout the province, five experienced Board members, and a handful of devoted administrative volunteers who assist us with foster screening. We also have two part-time staff members:
Hayley Rose Glaholt, Ph.D.
SafePet Ontario exists to eliminate a significant barrier to a survivor's journey to safety. How do we do it?
Request for Service
A survivor contacts us by filling out an Application form. We confirm that they are eligible for the program, and we begin looking for an appropriate foster home from our approved list of fosters. If it's an emergency and the client needs to leave immediately, we arrange a week-long "urgent hold" at a confidential location to keep the pet safe while we look for a foster.
The client drops their pet off at one of our confidential drop-off locations. The pet is then given a wellness exam and updated vaccines, and one of our volunteers provides transport to the foster's home.
Foster Family TLC
Our foster family cares for the pet for up to one year, and we provide necessary veterinary care to the animal free of charge to the client. Though clients cannot visit with their pets while they are in our program, we do send photos and updates on a monthly basis.
Once the survivor is re-established in a safe environment, they contact us to set up a reunion with their pets. We arrange for the reunion at a confidential location close to their new home.
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