Domestic violence victims not only worried about themselves, many are worried for their pets

Posted at 5:19 PM, Sep 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-11 20:55:19-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's sometimes the reason why domestic violence victims will stay with their abusers, or at least delay leaving.

Currently, Nashville does not have any pet friendly shelters. It's a huge reason why some victims won't leave their abusers. In fact, according to one study, as many as 48% of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations because they don't want to leave their beloved pet behind.

Allison Cantway with the Office of Family Safety explains they are collecting dog crates, cat carriers and pet food to give to victims. This will ease the burden of taking care of their pet in a stressful situation.

"For a domestic violence victim, their pet is a part of their family and you don't want to leave your home without a part of your family," Cantway said.

At the Office of Family Safety, they also help victims fill out an order of protection, which can include your pets so that your abusers can't harm you or them.

Also joining the fight is the Nashville Humane Association. They just received a $15,000 grant with the goal of keeping pets and victims together. Although only in the planning stages right now, the executive director says they're talking to Nashville Rescue Mission about filling this need.

"They would make their area pet friendly and we would provide them supplies," executive director Laura Chavarria said. "Studies show it's actually better for the victims and the animals for them to be housed together."

After years of discussion, the YWCA is also moving forward with their plans to build their pet shelter. They are still raising funds for their project.