Shuswap society finds pets often suffer in domestic abuse cases

Shuswap society finds pets often suffer in domestic abuse cases

SPCA, SAFE Society working together to provide shelter for pets of women fleeing abuse

Pets are an important part of many families, a fact which often translates into pets being used or abused as part of domestic abuse.

Jane Shirley, executive director of the SAFE (Shuswap Area Family Emergency) Society, describes what she’s witnessed.

“In my experience over the years, there’s been many times people have lost their pets – they’ve been harmed or killed (by an abuser) when people have come into the shelter. And obviously people are too scared to report it… They’re already fearful for their lives or to be harmed themselves, or their children to be harmed, so it doesn’t go reported. It isn’t until more recently that it has actually been exposed that there is a link (to domestic abuse).”

Shirley refers to research by the National Link Coalition in the U.S. Seventy-one per cent of pet owners entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser had threatened, injured or killed family pets.

“From a global perspective, the research is very clear that there is a link between criminal activity and animal abuse. Animal abuse often exposes other criminal behaviours,” Shirley says. “From a community perspective, it’s a family member, so often, and a dog or a cat or a pet is part of the abuse cycle, it’s just like a child. And often it’s a way of controlling the other people. ‘I’m going to hurt the dog, I’m going to hurt the cat.’”

Adds Paige Hilland, director of programming and community development with the SAFE Society:

“Or sometimes it’s the reason that somebody might return to an abusive situation because they’re unable to find somewhere to go with their pet.”

To help alleviate the problem, the SAFE Society and the Shuswap branch of the SPCA are joining forces so women fleeing abuse will be able to focus on looking after themselves and their families.

“Our goal is to remove barriers for people leaving unsafe situations and that would be by partnering with the SPCA and other large and small animal facilities so that they can have a safe place for their pet to be,” says Shirley.

The Salmon Arm Women’s Shelter will also work towards having its own pet friendly area as soon as possible but, in the meantime, it will also earmark funds to help pay for pet care. Anyone affected by domestic abuse or violence is encouraged to call the women’s shelter, available 24 hours, at 250-832-9616. To donate to the SAFE Society, call or go to www.safesociety.ca.

Read more: Giving boys options to masculine stereotypes

Read more: Domestic violence on the rise in Canada after eight-year decline

Read more: B.C. woman gets new trial after judge ‘stereotyped’ domestic violence victims

Read more: Women in vulnerable demographics most at risk of domestic homicide, study finds

Victoria Olynik, manager of the SPCA’s Shuswap branch, explains that the branch offers a free compassionate/emergency boarding service for dogs in need while their people find safer living accommodations.

Along with people fleeing domestic abuse, the service has also been provided to people with pets staying in the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Shelter, or people in hospital who have no family nearby.

Dogs are provided board for a maximum of two weeks. Although there’s no room for cats, referrals can be provided.

Olynik confirms the SPCA is very aware of domestic abuse.

“We do see it in this community and it’s unfortunate. When you see animal abuse, it often exposes other behaviour. There’s definitely a link between animal abuse and family violence.”

Anyone who would like to donate to the BC SPCA is asked to go to: www.spca.bc.ca or call 250-832-7376.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Shuswap society finds pets often suffer in domestic abuse cases

Just Posted

Scooters lined up for an educational event in Stuart Park on Wednesday, June 16. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Free e-scooter safety training in Kelowna

Shared e-scooter operators collaborate to educate riders

The suspect reportedly assaulted a security guard and robbed him. The incident happened at a Kelowna hotel. (Contributed)
Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Employees at Playtime Casino wait outside while firefighters inspect the building after a small storage room fire on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News).
Small fire at Kelowna’s Playtime Casino as staff preps to re-open

Fire ignited in the storage room, but the staff were able to put it out

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

A mother stands with her daughter, visiting senior parents but observing social distancing with a glass door between them.  The granddaughter puts her hand up to the glass, the grandfather and grandmother doing the same.  A small connection in a time of separation during the Covid-19 pandemic (Valley First/Contributed).
Have your say on which Okanagan, Thompson, Similkameen charities get donation

Valley First seeks public help to distribute $250,000 to local charities via social media campaign

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

Vernon Courthouse. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Sentencing delayed in North Okanagan child pornography case

Man who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography will have new sentence date fixed next week

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

People decided to tag Skaha Bluffs rocks which the Ministry has to go in and now clean up. (Facebook)
Bluffs at popular Penticton rock climbing park defaced

Ministry of Environment is going to clean it up

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

Most Read