ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) — In situations of domestic violence, there are many barriers that can prevent a person from getting out of an abusive relationship. One of these obstacles is a pet.
The Liberty House is working to raise funds for an on-site pet shelter. Adding that having that extra companion and form of support can help a victim cope.
It is a certified domestic violence program serving 17 counties in southwestern Georgia.
Chief executive Diane Rogers said each year they house an average of 200 victims.
“For a victim who has lost their home and is worried about their safety and fleeing for their safety, the best case scenario is to have their pet with them,” Rogers said.
She said some of the biggest obstacles that prevent victims from getting out of an abusive situation are finances, children, housing and their pets. With a pet shelter on site, they hope to soon be able to remove all of these obstacles.
“52% of women in shelters report having a pet that they left with their attacker. It’s a national number. We don’t want that to be a reason why someone doesn’t leave a dangerous situation,” Rogers said.
When a victim has a pet and stays at the Liberty House for shelter, they must board their pet in a kennel, which limits the amount of time they can interact. With an on-site shelter, pet owners will be able to see their dog or cat any time of the day.
“If you love pets, you really understand that having a pet there is emotional support. It’s a member of your family, it’s a loved one. So we don’t want to traumatize a victim,” Rogers said.
They estimate the fully functioning pet shelter will cost around $120,000. This includes building and necessary medical care for pets. It would house up to six dogs and six cats.
As for when they look to finish the shelter, they said it really depends on funding, but they are aiming to have a fully functioning pet shelter in 2022 or 2023.
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