Building a safe network through partnerships to help those experiencing domestic violence in the Durham Region
For those experiencing domestic violence, many victims delay leaving, or do not leave at all, as they are terrified of leaving their beloved pet behind in the abusive environment. Pets are targeted by abusers and are used as a pressure point, or a tool in order to control or coerce the human victim. The reality is that many individuals leaving abusive situations have very few options for staying together with their pet and are forced to give up their pet in order to find protection for themselves. Nobody should have to choose between their safety or that of their beloved companion animal.
The SafePet Program, helps to eliminate this concern for the client by safely placing their pet while they relocate to a safe environment themselves. Since many human shelters are unable to house pets onsite, these individuals turn to the SafePet program to help find a solution.
Administered by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), SafePet Ontario provides guidance to local shelters and veterinarians who are interested in this aspect of sheltering and helping people and pets find safety sooner by coordinating foster care for the pets of survivors fleeing situations of domestic or intimate partner violence.
The Humane Society of Durham Region (HSDR) is a member of the SafePet program. As regional coordinator for Durham Region, HSDR processes enrolment requests, coordinates wellness checks for SafePet animals and facilitates the temporary care for pets while their owners focus on getting back on their feet and staying safe.
Other members of the SafePet network in Durham Region include Bethesda House, Herizon House, Denise House, Durham Police Services and Victim Services. These organizations are relied upon to act as an authorized referral agent to assist with enrolling individuals and their pets into the program.
As a non profit organization, the Humane Society of Durham Region (HSDR) is very grateful to have received grants from the Ajax Council and Town of Ajax COVID-19 Special Response Fund and the Durham Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Community Support Fund. These grants have enabled HSDR to join this network and to provide services to help the victims of domestic abuse and their pets.
HSDR is honoured to be part of the SafePet network and looks forward to working with our partners to support those in need in our community.