The S.A.A.V. Program – Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims Program
The Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims Program was featured in the November issue of O Magazine, in an article devoted to the link between domestic abuse and animal cruelty:
Wisconsin State Journal
PET PROTECTORS – PROGRAM OFFERS CARE FOR ANIMALS THAT MIGHT BE TARGETS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
Originally Posted On: Sunday, March 16, 2008 – Yet not enough progress has been made since then
Section: LIFESTYLE - Edition: ALL – Page: 1 – Byline: By SANDRA KALLIO email@example.com 608-252-6181
Memo: Editor’s note: To protect the women – and their pets – mentioned in this story, the women’s names and hometowns are not revealed.
The woman had survived decades of verbal, emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her husband, but her situation changed several months ago. The abuse escalated and her husband threatened to kill her beloved dog.
Shame had kept her from talking about the abuse before, but fear for her life led her to contact Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) staff in Dane County several months ago. They had a space for her, and a place for her pet – something most programs for abused women don’t offer and a reason some women hesitate to leave their homes.
"They’re overly full and underfunded usually," said Megan Senatori, explaining why shelters for abused women don’t accept pets.
To address the link between family violence and pet abuse, Senatori, a Madison lawyer in private practice who also teaches animal law at UW-Madison and Marquette University, teamed up with Pam Alexander, law program director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund in Madison. They collaborated with DAIS and the Dane County Humane Society to start the Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims Program (SAAV), a nonprofit organization that provides emergency animal foster care for pets of abused women seeking shelter.
Among the recent users is a mother of three small children. Talking about her abuser and the family pets, she told Senatori: "Without the SAAV Program, I really didn’t know what I would do. He shook the kitties to try to discipline them; I couldn’t leave them there alone. Thanks for keeping them safe. I can’t wait to get a place so I can get them back again."
Abused women’s concerns about their pets’ welfare is well-founded, according to multiple studies, including the 1998 research by Frank R. Ascione of Utah State University, who later created a guide for programs sheltering pets for women who are battered. He found that of 74 percent of battered women seeking shelter who had pets in the past year, 71 percent said their partner had either threatened to harm or had harmed or killed their pet.
"Abuse of pets is a lethality predictor," Senatori said. The relationship is somewhat more complicated, explained Darald Hanusa, a psychotherapist who works with batterers through the Midwest Domestic Violence Resource Center in Madison.
"Yes, it is a predictor of lethality – but only for the most violent of batterers," Hanusa said. Careful not to overstate or underplay the relationship between abuse of a partner and her pet, he said, "There’s definitely a connection. If someone is abusive to their partner, they’re more likely to be abusive to children and to their pets."
Most of the men committing verbal and psychological abuse but not severe repeated violence do not report having abused their partners’ pets, but, Hanusa said, "One thing that can show up is men will use pets as a way to threaten and scare their partners."
Pet abuse or the threat of it would become reason enough for a restraining order in domestic abuse cases if legislation passed by the State Senate on March 6 becomes law.
State Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, author of Senate Bill 162, said, "Few domestic abuse shelters allow animals, so consequently many battered women will not leave an abusive relationship or they will delay leaving because they do not want to abandon their pets. The abuser will often threaten to harm or kill the animal if the woman leaves. Too often these threats are carried out."
As one example, Senatori told the story of a woman staying in a shelter in northern Wisconsin whose abuser cut the ears off her dog with garden shears as revenge for her decision to leave him. His ploy worked. The woman returned to her abuser to protect her pet.
Risser also explained how the bill, which was being considered by the Assembly last week, could impact children by making it easier for an abused woman to get a restraining order to protect herself and the family pet: "Seeing or hearing abuse has a dramatic effect on children. It can become a model for how children view others. Children who witness this kind of abuse are at a much higher risk of becoming abusers themselves."
Senatori referred to three studies showing that 18 percent to 40 percent of women seeking shelter at a crisis center said their concern for the safety or well-being of a family pet prevented them from seeking shelter sooner – in some cases for more than two months.
A woman’s connection with that pet may be her closest relationship. "Sometimes that’s your only companion," Senatori said, talking about how batterers isolate their victims from others. "Pets can be a real source of comfort."
"My cat is so important to me. He’s the light of my life," said one woman, now in her 30s, who was abused in her 20s and worried about her cat, Chester, whenever she left the house. "He’s my baby."
Her boyfriend never physically abused her, but, she said, "he was verbally and emotionally abusive and he would throw these rages. He would scream at me and call me names and throw things and make threats. . . . He used to say things like, ‘It would be really sad if anything ever happened to Chester.’"
When she told him to move out of her apartment, he delayed for weeks. "I’d go to work every day and I would be worried about my cat," she said. "It was hard driving home from work. I was always so nervous to go home, especially after I had told him it was over."
If verbal push came to physical shove, she knew she could seek shelter with her family but also knew they couldn’t have Chester move in, too.
"I didn’t want to leave him," she said about her pet. "If there had been a SAAV Program then, I would have made up an excuse like ‘Chester had to go to the vet,’" she said, explaining how she would have escaped the apartment with her pet if the situation worsened.
Protecting the pet
While this woman and her kitten escaped physically unscathed, Senatori didn’t want pets to be the reason women stayed in dangerous situations – or put themselves in harm’s way when trying to retrieve a pet after leaving.
Now when women call the DAIS crisis line, staff ask whether they have a pet and whether they are concerned for the safety or welfare of the pet, said Shannon Barry, DAIS executive director.
Women who escape abusive relationships average seven attempts at leaving before the break is permanent, so many of the women DAIS assists will be going back to their abusers.
"We let them know there’s this support for them," Barry said about the emergency pet care. "We’re one of the few programs in the state that has this."
Since 2003, SAAV has placed about 36 animals in foster care while the 20 owners were in domestic abuse shelters or living with a relative or friend who couldn’t also house the pet. Senatori expects the number to grow with SAAV Program awareness.
"We also serve countless domestic victims with pets via the DAIS crisis line, as well as by raising community awareness about the role of pets in domestic abuse in public training and media," she added.
Drop-off of pets differs, with victims sometimes showing up at the DAIS shelter with pets or with DAIS arranging for escorts by Dane County sheriffs or Dane County Humane Society officers.
"We’ve had turkeys, a horse, goats, dogs and cats, of course, birds, hamsters," Senatori said. "I think we had an iguana."
She talked about a woman who relied on the program to keep her kitten safe during the summer of 2007. Referring to the woman’s written comments to SAAV, Senatori said, "She indicated on our form that when she found out her pet could be safe, it helped her decide to leave her abuser. She said that she felt comfortable, secure and relaxed while her pet was in shelter."
That woman also wrote: "Thank the Lord for angels and people with a good and kind heart."
One of those "angels" is Renee Miller, who has no pets of her own at this point and enjoys the flexibility of fostering animals when her work demands and vacation plans allow the time.
"I do it for the animals to help them continue as comfortable a life as they can have being in a new space," she said. "It’s kind of the best of both worlds in that I get to help animals and I also get the companionship of animals."
Recently fostering two dogs through the SAAV Program, she said, "They’ve adapted really well." Like all SAAV volunteers, Miller went through standard pet foster training plus training about domestic abuse to learn about the link between family violence and pet abuse.
"These pets have not come from happy homes," Senatori said. "A lot of the pets are really scared." Volunteers learn how to deal with, for example, a traumatized kitten that hides under the bed all the time. They also learn about the cycle of domestic abuse and why some women might stay in abusive households so that they understand the dynamics involved and don’t blame the victims, Senatori said.
While understanding what victims go through is important, the pet care givers will never know the name of the woman, nor will she be told who is sheltering her pet. Their point of contact is the Dane County Humane Society or DAIS to preserve anonymity on both ends for the sake of safety. Pet owners, though, can get updates about their pets through DAIS.
Pets stay in the SAAV Program for up to 90 days, after which the woman might retrieve her companion animal or perhaps decide she can’t keep a pet at this time of her life. Sometimes foster families adopt pets.
Senatori said, "The SAAV Program was not created to ensure a specific outcome but rather to provide domestic abuse victims with the comfort of knowing their animal companions will be safe should they have the courage to leave."
Said DAIS director Barry: "Anything we can do to remove barriers to people’s safety, we’re going to do."
To learn more
Domestic abuse victims wishing to use the Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims (SAAV) Program should contact Domestic Abuse Intervention Services’ 24-hour Help Line, 251-4445 or toll-free, 800-747-4045.
For information about domestic violence in our community, visit www.abuseintervention.org.
All content © Wisconsin State Journal may not be republished without permission – Permission has been granted if materials not used for profit
http://www.connectionsforwomen.com / November 2008
Kick My Dog – Kick Me by Megan Senatori
Pets Are Victims Of Domestic Abuse Too: Spread The Word.
You may not know it, but pets, like humans, can become victims of domestic abuse.
In fact, the abuse of pets in violent homes is so common that studies have confirmed the “link” between pet abuse and domestic abuse. For example, a 1995 survey of 72 women seeking refuge in domestic abuse shelters in Wisconsin found that 86% of the women had pets and in 80% of those cases the batterer had abused the pets. (See note 1)
Why would a batterer target a defenseless animal? At its core, domestic abuse is about the batterers exercise of power and control over the family. In most American households, pets are full-fledged members of their human families. However, unlike humans, pets obviously cannot report abuse and, as a result, batterers may more easily hide and get away with pet abuse. Batterers know this. They, therefore, routinely use pets as a tool of domination – to teach the human members of the family submission, to make the family keep secrets, to punish the victim and/or the children, to coerce the victim to stay, or to retaliate against the victim for leaving. The abuse of a family pet is also symbolic – brutality to the family pet serves as a vivid and horrifying “reminder” to the rest of the family of the consequences of failing to submit to the batterer’s demands. Sadly, victims and children wishing to protect their pet from abuse often feel that they have no option other than to stay in a violent home.
Because domestic abuse shelters typically do not allow pets, victims with pets face an undeniable reality: Leaving the batterer may mean harm, or even death, to a beloved family member, their pet. Faced with this horror, studies confirm that many victims delay leaving or never leave in order to protect their pets from abuse. Three separate studies have documented that from 18% to 40% of victims seeking shelter at a crisis center reported that concern for the welfare of their pet prevented them from seeking shelter sooner, in some cases for more than two months. (See note2) The number of victims who never leave due to concern for the safety and well-being of a pet is immeasurable. We did not want human victims of domestic abuse to ever to have to “choose” between their own safety and the certain death or abuse of their animal companion.
The SAAV (“Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims”) Program is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization based in Dane County, Wisconsin, that provides emergency confidential foster care for pets of domestic abuse victims receiving services or shelter from our local domestic abuse organization. Through a network of foster parents, we provide homes to the pets of domestic abuse victims for a period of up to 90 days. The SAAV Program is possible due to generous collaboration with Domestic Abuse Intervention Services and the Dane County Humane Society, both also based in Dane County, Wisconsin.
Over the years, we have provided shelter for pets ranging from dogs to horses and even, to a little hamster named “Faith.” The ultimate goal of the SAAV Program is to reunite the families we serve in a safe environment after the foster period. However, due to the complex dynamics of abuse, sometimes a victim and her pet will return to the abusive household. Other times, a victim will decide to relinquish her pet for adoption at the end of the foster period. However, regardless of the end-result, the SAAV Program offers a valuable service by providing safety to human and animal victims of domestic abuse when they need it most. We have Faith to know that it makes all the difference.
Note 1 Arkow, P., “The Relationship Between Animal Abuse and Other Forms of Family Violence,” 12 Family Violence and Sexual Assault Bulletin 29 (1996). Studies nationwide bear out similarly.
Note.2 See Ascione, Frank R., “Safe Haven for Pets: Guidelines for Programs Sheltering Pets for Women Who Are Battered,” page 1 (2000).
Victims wishing to utilize The SAAV Program should contact the 24 hour crisis line at Domestic Abuse Intervention Services at: (800) 747-4045.
For information about the SAAV Program, or starting a safe havens for pets program in your community, please visit the SAAV Program online at http://www.saavprogram.org. By email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or by mail at P.O. Box 5152, Madison, WI 53705.
There are direct correlations between animal, domestic, child and elder abuse. Abusers are abusers! Please report suspected abuse as soon as you notice a problem!! Be part of the solution!!
February 1, 2012 - Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Fostering and Rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Outreach for Pets, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership | animal abuse, Domestic Abuse, domestic abuse and animal abuse connected, SAAV, Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims Program
3 Comments »
Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
Recent and Seasonal Shots
As I have been fighting Cancer… A battle I am gratefully winning, my furkids have not left my side. They have been a large part of my recovery!! Ask Marion
Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
Help Make a Difference
Protect Your Pet From Tarter and Gum DiseasePlaque Attack Triple Care Dental Spray Amazon.com Widgets
Adopt Just One More Pet All Animals All Pets animal abuse animal advocacy animal advocates animal cruelty animals ASPCA Bears be part of the solution Birds California cancer canines Cats cats and dogs Chihuahuas China Chiweenies Christmas cute dog Doggies dogs dogs and cats Dr. Becker elephants Fido fish for the love of a pet German Shepherd Halloween holidays holidays with pets horses HSUS Humane Society Humane Society of the United States JOMP Just One More Pet JustOneMorePet kittens kitties livestock Love man's best friend military dogs monkeys New York Pet Abuse Pet Adoption Pet costumes Pet Food pet fun Pet Health Pet Parents Pets pet safety pets and holidays Pets Are Family Pet Therapy Puppies puppy mills pups rabbits Rainbow Bridge reptiles responsible pet ownership responsible pet parents service dogs Stop Animal Cruelty Texas There Is Always Room For One More Pet we are their voice
- In Memory of Rocky – Until We Meet Again on Rainbow Bridge August 30, 2015By JoAnn, Marion, and Tim Algier This past week, we lost our dear family member Rocky who had just outlived his “huep – na-napbdad”, Tom, by just a few months. His perspective would have been interesting!! Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been […]justonemorepet
- In Memory of Rocky – Until We Meet Again on Rainbow Bridge August 29, 2015By JoAnn, Marion, and Tim Algier This past week, we lost a dear family member, Rocky, who had just outlived his “human pet-dad”, Tom, by just a few months. It certainly would have been interesting to know what they thought and what experiences they had had in common!! Just this side of heaven is a […]justonemorepet
- Panda Accused of Faking Pregnancy To Get Better Food, Air Conditioning August 1, 2015Expectant pandas are moved to air-conditioned rooms and showered with more buns, fruit and bamboo. By Dominique Mosbergen – News Editor, The Huffington Post – Posted: 07/30/2015 12:57 AM EDT | Edited: 07/31/2015 02:07 PM EDT Pandas Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, names together mean "reunion", eat bamboo at a panda base in Ya’an, southwest […]justonemorepet
- Dachshund Family Photo | Picture Furrfect July 20, 2015Video: Dachshund Family Photo | Picture Furrfectjustonemorepet
- They Were Dead Puppy Parts Instead of Dead Baby July 16, 2015Bristol Palin: Fellow SixSeeds blogger Zeke Pipher has a great question: If they were dead puppy parts, or parts from homosexual babies, or babies that self-identified as adults, it’d be a different story. Meaning, it would be a story. But as it is, the fact that these fetuses don’t look like puppies, and their sexual […]justonemorepet
- Bob’s Full House July 13, 2015Photo: Cute Overload - Full Housejustonemorepet
- Keep Your Pets Safe on the 4th of July June 30, 2015Family and friends of G.R. Gordon-Ross watch his private fireworks show at the Youth Sports Complex in Lawrence, Kan., Friday, June 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) Mercury News – Originally posted on July 02, 2013: The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Hot dogs, potato salad and, of course, fireworks. But Independence […]justonemorepet
- JOMP Salutes Doggie Dads Both Two and Four Legged June 21, 2015Very few dogs have the experience of being parents these days and especially seeing their litters through the process of weaning and then actually being able to remain part of a pack with at least part of their family. Apachi is our Doggie Dad. He is a Chiweenie and here he is is watching his […]justonemorepet
- Smartest Dog In the World, Chaser – 60 Minutes With Anderson Cooper June 15, 2015By Marion Algier – Just One More Pet (JOMP) – Cross-Posted at AskMarion Anderson Cooper met Chaser, a dog who can identify over a thousand toys, and because of whom, scientists are now studying the brain of man’s best friend. Chaser is also the subject of a book: Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog […]justonemorepet
- Quebec bill changes animals from "property" to sentient beings and includes jail time for cruelty June 14, 2015By Tamara – Dog Heirs – Cross-Posted at JOMP Quebec, Canada – Animals will be considered “sentient beings” instead of property in a bill tabled in the Canadian province of Quebec. The legislation states that "animals are not things. They are sentient beings and have biological needs." Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis proposed the bill and […] […]justonemorepet
- In Memory of Rocky – Until We Meet Again on Rainbow Bridge August 30, 2015
Find Pet Friendly Hotels
- RT @thehill: State Dept probe reportedly finds that agency improperly overpaid Clinton aide Huma Abedin: hill.cm/tw6hjyd http://t.co…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 1 year ago
- RT @alvedaking: Alveda King: God harvests souls. The devil harvests baby body parts. Read my blog @ bit.ly/1M1nQFi. Comment and sha…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 1 year ago
- RT @RNRKentucky: .@SenAlexander Infanticide not enough! PP now butchers aborted babies for PARTS! #DefundPP #PJNET #RedNationRising http://…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 1 year ago
- RT @ullikemike: “@USABillOfRights: Judge Who Blocked PP Videos RAISED $230k For OBAMA therightscoop.com/judge-who-bloc… #PPSellsBabyParts http://t.co/…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 1 year ago
- RT @angelacarwile: 💥Does #CecilTheLion's life matter more than #AnotherBoy & his "parts"?💥 #DefundPP #PPSellsBabyParts #RedNationRising ht…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 1 year ago
Great Book for Children and Pet Lovers… And a Perfect Holiday GiftOne More Pet Emily loves animals so much that she can’t resist bringing them home. When a local farmer feels under the weather, she is only too eager to “feed the lambs, milk the cows and brush the rams.” The farmer is so grateful for Emily’s help that he gives her a giant egg... Can you guess what happens after that? The rhythmic verse begs to be read aloud, and the lively pictures will delight children as they watch Emily’s collection of pets get bigger and bigger.
~~ 2000+ Dog Books And All Things Dog ~~
Buy Now: A Must Have For Every Pet Owner
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!
Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.