One donation saves many lives: Safe Haven for domestic violence victims’ pets

a. Name of Nonprofit Organization—Friends of Pets

b. Project Name—Safe Haven

c. Project Description—Financial support for a program that provides emergency housing and care for the pets of women accessing the AWAIC shelter; $5,000 requested.

d. The Big Why (why does this project move you/why will it make a difference in our community/state?)—

Alaska’s shameful statistic of the highest rates of domestic violence impact our community in ways many of us assume are obvious; however, recent research indicates that many battered women stay in dangerous relationships because they’re terrified of not leaving their violent partner for fear of leaving behind a beloved pet. Pets are often used as tools to further intimidate and terrorize a victim by either threatening harm or actually committing acts of violence to prove ultimate control over a victim. Shelters are already over burdened with its human occupants, let alone being able to support additional creatures needing more care than can be provided.

Friends of Pets Safe Haven program was launched in 2004 and is one of only 115 in the nation. It is the only program in Alaska providing such services. Since its inception they have provided safety, critical and emergency medical care and housing for more than 300 animals that includes dogs, cats, exotic birds, rabbits, and other assorted gentle and much loved creatures. The program serves an average of three pets per month. Each pet is boarded for a minimum of seven to 10 days during their medical assessment period and then often undergo additional medical care due to abuse or chronic neglect due to financial isolation issues preventing the victim from caring adequately caring for them. The pet is then placed in a foster home. Small dogs and cats are easier to place than larger dogs and/or multiple pets or exotic animals.

The intent of the program is to temporarily house the pet (or multiple pets sometimes) until the owner is able to secure safe,independent housing; 80% percent of pets are reunited with their owner.

The average cost of care per pet is $400 with expenses increasing to $800 per pet if there are extensive medical issues.

If you’re wondering about both the social impact of abused pets in our community, look no further than THIS report by the UAA Justice Center and THIS recent blog entry by local blogger and former AWAIC staffer Liz Meredith.

This annual operating budget for Safe Haven is $15,000—a $5,000 increase from the previous year due to the increase of domestic violence victims seeking safety from their abusers. The main funding source for the program is general fundraising through events and individual giving.

This proposal request is for $5,000 of which Friends of Pets will match to also leverage their ability to seek additional funds from donors; however, a donation in any amount would be appreciated and utilized to its highest programmatic value.

Questions about this proposal should be directed to Krista Scully, fierce protector and pet lover.