Pet Safe Program
Collaboration with Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley
There is strong evidence that all types of violence are intertwined. Animal abuse, child abuse and Domestic Violence are closely linked, and this link impacts our communities. Santa Maria Valley Humane Society hosts a myriad of programs to help stop this cycle of violence. One program is Pet Safe, a collaborative efforts with Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley. This program is designed to help families with pets who are facing a Domestic Violence emergency seek free, fast, safety and care.
Many Domestic Violence shelters do not allow pets to accompany an abused family. Many survivors of Domestic Violence will choose not to leave an abuser if their pet will be left behind. Also, if an individual does decide to leave a pet behind, the abuser will often hurt that pet in an effort to maintain control over the victim. As the cycle of violence continues, the children in these situations who witness domestic violence or animal abuse, or who are being abused themselves, have a much higher risk of becoming future violent offenders.
If your law enforcement, church-based program, or non-profit organization works with Domestic Violence cases, please inform your clients with pets about Pet Safe. For animal intake information, agencies or clients can call (805) 349-3435, option 4.
Animal Victims of Domestic Violence
Misha was a wonderful 12-year-old domestic short hair cat who had been in and out of homes for the past 5 years at no fault of his own. Misha’s human mom, Natalie, and brother, Daniel, returned Misha to the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society when they were escaping domestic violence in their home.
“Many people stay in domestic violence relationships because they fear their pets will be injured,” says Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley. “They fear that because some monster has put into their minds that their pets will be injured or killed if the demands of the abuser are not met.” The Pet Safe program, a collaboration with the District Attorney and the Humane Society, provides 24 hour a day, 7 days week communication with first responders so that animal victims of domestic violence can be cared for as part of an escape plan or a crime.
Natalie was brutally murdered by her abuser three days after Misha was brought to the shelter. Daniel, who has no other family, is working his way through the foster care system. Misha is safe, loved and cared for in the Pet Safe program while he is waiting for a permanent foster home to be secured for Daniel. The Humane Society committed to reuniting Misha and Daniel once their permanent home was approved. Daniel’s temporary foster home allowed him to visit Misha at the animal shelter. Misha loves to drink water from the faucet and he also enjoys the occasional bites of strawberries and peaches. “The Pet Safe program and the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society most likely saved Misha’s life,” Dudley says.
Follow the links below to download more information on the SMVHS Pet Safe Program and Request for Service Forms.
002 – Pet Information Sheet