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Safe Haven - Domestic Violence and Cruelty to Animals



WHS works closely with area domestic violence service providers because abusers often threaten, injure, or kill pets as a way of controlling others in the family.

Numerous studies from across the country have found an undeniable link between domestic violence, child abuse and animal cruelty.

  • A 1997 study of the 50 largest battered women shelters in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, found that 85% of women and 63% of children entering the shelter reported incidents of pet abuse in the family.*
  • More than 83% of those 50 shelters have observed the coexistence of domestic violence and animal cruelty, but only 27% include questions relating to pet abuse in their intake interviews.**
  • In a Utah safe-house, 71% of women stated that their abusers had also threatened, harmed or killed a family pet, and 20% had delayed leaving an abusive situation out of fear for their pet’s safety. ***

In case after case, women who are victims of domestic violence are overwhelmingly reporting that their pets have also been threatened, harmed or killed by their abuser. Domestic violence victims concerned about the safety of their animals can have their service provider call the Washington Humane Society 24/7 for help. WHS is a resource for victims, human service agencies, and any one else concerned about the safety of an animal in the District of Columbia.

If you are a victim in need of services please contact the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence at (202) 299-1181 online at http://www.dccadv.org

The violence must stop. We can help.

Please call the Washington Humane Society.
202-723-5730

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Learn more ways to help with Safe Haven on the WHS blog

Unspoken Abuse – Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty
On March 14, 2013, DC residents joined the Washington Humane Society (WHS) and Safety Network for Abused Animals and People (SNAAP) in a town hall meeting. The goal - to begin churning the wheels on Safe Haven, a current WHS program that serves pets of victims of domestic violence and needs more light in the community and resources from its residents. Continued on the WHS blog

*“Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence: Making the Connection,” First Strike Campaign, The Humane Society of the United States.
**“Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence: Making the Connection,” First Strike Campaign, The Humane Society of the United States.
***“Safe Haven for Pets,” Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D., Utah State University

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