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How to Help Victims Move On

A common question most people ask themselves about victims of domestic violence is, "why don't they just leave?". There are a variety of well documented reasons, such as low self esteem, no means to leave, a poor support system, children, among many others. Another fear that these victims (mostly women) face is the concern for their pets.

Forty-eight percent of victims report delaying leaving out of concern for their companion animals' safety, as most admitted that their pets were threatened, harmed or killed by their abusers. This is so common, in fact, that victims of domestic violence spoke of incidents of pet abuse in 85 percent of cases. If you have a beloved pet, you can certainly understand the fear of leaving one in a dangerous home with an abuser. Abusers are very manipulative and know that by threatening everything close to the victim, that they can maintain control. It is this control that keeps the victims from leaving, afraid of losing the bond with all that they love, including their pets.

However, there is some hope in the form of the The Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS), currently proposed in Congress. According to the Animal Welfare Institute, "The PAWS Act will help programs provide shelter and housing assistance for the companion animals of victims of domestic violence. It also takes the crucial step of including pets in federal law pertaining to interstate stalking, protection order violations, and restitution, and urges states to allow pets to be included under protection orders (as 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have already done)." The passage of the PAWS Act will not only protect these animals, but victims of domestic abuse will also be more likely to seek safety. The act is designed to increase the capacity to meet the needs of all affected.

So what can you do? Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators by email, phone or handwritten note and urge them to co-sponsor or support the Pet and Women Safety Act, H.R. 909 and S. 322. The Animal Welfare Institute is working hard to spread awareness of this issue and lobby for the passage of this bill.

Arteeni's mission is to promote American artisans and support our charity partners by donating a portion of each sale. For more information about The Animal Welfare Institute or to select them as your designated cause, click here.


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