Glenn Polyn//October 13, 2020//
Glenn Polyn //October 13, 2020//
Press release: PetSmart Charities
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, another global pandemic looms under the surface – domestic abuse and intimate partner violence. In the U.S. on average, around 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner per minute, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. As quarantine protocols remain in many areas to protect the public from the virus, many domestic abuse victims and their pets are finding themselves now trapped with their abuser. Up to 48 percent of domestic abuse victims do not leave their abuser because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets, and with as few as 10 percent of domestic violence shelters accepting pets into their facilities, survivors often feel they have few choices beyond staying in a violent situation.
This October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, PetSmart Charities is continuing to keep pets and people together with a $2.1 million commitment to programs serving at-risk pet parents experiencing domestic abuse and other crises heightened by COVID-19, across the U.S. and Canada. Funding will support an array of programs such as pet-friendly domestic violence shelters, pet deposits for pet-friendly housing, emergency pet boarding and other initiatives to ensure pets and people remain together during uncertain times.
“Not only are pets a common reason why victims delay leaving their abusers, animal abuse is often the first indicator of domestic violence within a household,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “As an Arizona-based organization, we’re proud to not only support our community, but communities across the U.S. and Canada to provide resources that bridge the gap to a safer environment for both people and pets – especially during the pandemic.”
Coast-to-coast, from the U.S. to Canada, grants have been distributed to animal welfare organizations as well as social services agencies for people fleeing domestic abuse, precariously housed people, those too ill to care for their pets and LGBTQ+ youth facing housing instability. Below is a summary of some of the organizations who have received grants to help prevent pet relinquishment or separation.