Archived Story

HOPE for Paws combats domestic abuse

Published 6:33pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Steps to HOPE, Polk County’s domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and treatment center, has established a committee to address the need for shelter of family pets in domestic abuse situations.

It is no longer adequate – and is often prohibitive – to only provide shelter for abused women and their children.

The HOPE for Paws Committee is comprised of representatives from Foothills Humane Society and our community, along with Steps to HOPE staff and members of its board of directors.

Studies confirm a link between animal abuse and family violence:
• 71 percent of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims, and 32 percent reported their children had hurt or killed animals – a learned behavior;

• Animals were abused in 88 percent of homes where child physical abuse was present;

• Between 25 percent and 40 percent of battered women are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets should they leave.

For more information about HOPE for Paws, contact Steps to HOPE at 894-2340.

- article submitted by Debra Backus

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