We are currently developing a program to offer safe haven to the parrots of domestic violence victims. The birds will be housed off site in an undisclosed location.
Parrots and Domestic Violence
Parrot Outreach Society runs background checks on prospective adopters and some have asked why we do this. I am going to give you some very good reasons why we do this, as well as, some important information to keep in mind. First, let’s look at some statistics.
-60% of domestic violence victims have had a pet killed by their abuser
-Over 40% of abused women delay going to a shelter that does not welcome pets
-85% of homes where domestic violence occurs also have a pet being abused
-70% of animal abusers also have criminal records for other crimes
-Battered women have been known to live in their car for over 4 months until a space opens at a pet friendly safe house.
Now let’s look at some facts.
-Reasons why batterers abuse or kill pets
-Used to display power and control over the family
-Helps to isolate the victims, women and children
-To make victims be submissive
-Helps to instill terror in the victims
-A way to retaliate for “disobedience”
-A way to force victims to participate in the abuse or to keep the abuse secret
-Pet may be viewed as competition for the victims attention
-To force a victim to return home after leaving
-Buys the silence of a child who is being abused or watching a parent be abused
Why is it important to recognize animal abuse in domestic violence?
-Animal abuse brings to light the deliberateness of abuse rather than a sudden loss of control
-Animal abuse is closely connected to spousal and child abuse
-Animal abuse helps to keep the victim in the home due to fear of losing their pet
-Animal abuse can be a precursor of other abuse in the household
What can we do to help?
-Educate ourselves regarding domestic violence
-Help to educate our communities about domestic violence
-Connect with shelters for domestic violence victims and establish foster care programs
-Network with veterinarians, animal control and shelters to increase awareness
-List your rescue as a safe haven with domestic violence shelters
-Contact law enforcement when animal abuse comes to your attention, you may save the
animals life as well as human life
-Educate the public how domestic violence victims can help to ensure they have established
ownership of their pets by having vet records in their name
-Support strong anticruelty laws
If you are a victim of domestic violence:
-Develop an emergency p[lan for yourself and your pets
-Make arrangements with trusted friends to take your pet in an emergency
-Establish ownership of your pet
-Have your pets needed care items together join one spot for quick exit
-If you must leave your pet behind, contact law enforcement and animal control for help
removing the pets from the abusers care
Never put yourself in immediate danger of the abuser. Be supportive of the victims you come across. Don’t say things like, “if she didn’t like it she would leave” or “if she loved her animals she would leave”. Victims do not need more degradation, they need support. The victims fears ARE legitimate, help find ways to alleviate those fears. When you report animal abuse and know their is domestic violence in the household, make sure the authorities also know of the domestic violence so they may help protect the victim as well as the animal. Be aware if you know an animal has unexplained injuries or illnesses that here may be abuse occurring.
Make available copies of the First Strike planning guide, Making the Connection; Protecting Your Pet from Domestic Violence in your educational handouts. Consider offering safe haven for pets of domestic violence after consulting with law enforcement and domestic violence shelters. You may want to have a series of foster homes willing to care specifically for pets of domestic violence so as not to draw the abusers attention to your facility. Above all else, report and be safe!