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Monday, 03 October 2016 17:43

'Safe Haven' Helps People & Pets Escape Domestic Violence

The first time Bear saw his foster dad remove his belt, he ran screaming from the room, terrified. The four-pound Pomeranian cowered and trembled under a bed and would not come out for hours.

It was just one of many indications that this little dog had witnessed terrible abuse in his last home – and had been a victim of domestic violence himself.

Bear came to the Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) through the Safe Haven Program, a partnership between KHS and the Center for Women and Families (The Center), a non-profit that serves and advocates for women and families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and economic hardship.

According to data collected by the American Humane Association, 68% of women experiencing domestic violence also reported that their partner was violent towards their animal.

“Animal cruelty is one of the earliest and most dramatic indicators that an individual is developing a pattern of seeking power and control through abuse of others. When animals in a home are abused or neglected, it is a warning sign that others in the household may be in danger,” says Marta Miranda, President & CEO of The Center.

Since 2001, KHS and The Center have worked together to help protect both pets and people from abuse. Through Safe Haven, KHS takes the pets owned by women and men seeking help from The Center and places the animals in secure, anonymous foster homes. The dogs or cats can spend up to 90 days in their foster homes, allowing their original families time to get back on their feet and to secure safe housing.

“The goal of the Safe Haven Program is to help keep pets safe, allow their families to escape from abuse, and eventually reunite families with their beloved companions,” says Lori Redmon, KHS President & CEO.

And it’s a program that is working. Since 2011, 48 animals and their families have been helped through Safe Haven; 48 percent of the time, the animals were successfully reunited with their owners once they were in stable, safe homes. The remainder of the animals were placed for adoption, including Bear.

Bear’s owner realized that she would be unable to take back the little dog, and so he was adopted by his foster caregiver, Angie Durgasingh, Customer Care Manager at KHS.

When Angie first met Bear in June 2012, Bear was terrified and threatened to bite anyone who came near him. Angie has experience working with fearful animals, so she volunteered to foster him.

“Bear refused to come out of his crate for the first hour. After that, he hid under the bed,” she says.

A breakthrough happened when Bear finally let Angie and Larry’s 13-year-old son, Landon, touch him. Once Landon gained Bear’s trust, it was only a matter of time before he started trusting the adults in the home. Now Bear sleeps in bed each night with Angie, Larry and their other dogs. He loves going for car rides and walks. His favorite thing to do is to cuddle up with Angie or Larry on the couch.

Four years after his adoption, Angie and her family can’t imagine life without him.

“Bear is very special to my family,” she says. “It makes me so happy to see how far he’s come.”


How to Get Help

If you need help, contact The Center at 1-844-237-2331 to learn more about the partnership with the Kentucky Humane Society and the Safe Haven Program. We are here to help you and your pet stay safe.


How to Volunteer 

The Kentucky Humane Society needs foster caregivers to provide temporary homes for Safe Haven animals. Safe Haven pets stay in your home for up to 90 days, giving their families time to get the support they need from The Center so they can get back on their feet. To volunteer, email Kayla Saylor, [email protected] or call 366-3355 ext. 2260.

How to Donate

You may donate online at www.kyhumane.org/donate or by calling 502-515-3143.

Bear family

Read 2954 times Last modified on Monday, 03 October 2016 18:02