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Pet Abuse & Safety
In many households, pets are part of the family. If you are part of a household that is experiencing domestic violence, your pets can become targets too. Pets are sometimes used as tools of power and control in domestic violence. The abuse of animals is often a precursor to violence against humans. Pets provide our families with comfort and stability, but abusers may threaten, injure, or kill them as a way of controlling others in the family. If you are able to prepare for a departure with your pet, it is helpful to have the following items in a safe place out of your partner’s reach:
  1. Pet medications

  2. Carriers for transportation

  3. Collar with identification

  4. Vaccination and medical records

  5. Proof of ownership (veterinarian bill or rabies records in your name)

  6. Food, bowls, toys, grooming supplies, etc.

  7. Information sheet including pet’s feeding schedule, habits and behaviors
There are times when a domestic violence victim will not go into a shelter because they do not want to leave their pets behind. Don’t assume help isn’t available for your pet because you've never seen it advertised; you have to ASK. And, if you were unable to take your pet with when you left, you can ask for assistance from law enforcement or animal care and control officers to reclaim them.

Pet Protective Orders
On July 26, 2009, a new law was enacted in Washington that allows a court, when issuing a domestic violence protection order, to order that the respondent stay away from, and not threaten or harm, any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, respondent, or their minor children. The bill also allows courts to grant exclusive custody of an animal to the petitioner.

More Info
The Humane Society maintains an Online Directory of Safe Havens for Animals Programs. You can find a local pet shelter at the Humane Society web site. Also check the Pets web site for local rescue groups and emergency vets.

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