A House to Call Home: Pets And Domestic Violence

In Atlanta, Georgia, the cries of domestic violence victims have ceased somewhat because of an establishment called Ahimsa House. A shelter like no other, Ahimsa House provides support for pets that are also victims of domestic abuse. A considerable number of victims in domestic violence shelters reports that, in most cases, their partner had also hurt or sometimes even killed their pet. In fact, most of them choose to stay in an abusive relationship for the sake of their beloved animal companion.

There are many shelters for human domestic violence victims in Georgia but Ahimsa House is the first and only shelter of the same kind founded specifically for animals. Pets of domestic violence victims get kicked, beaten, and tortured in an effort to instill fear in abused family members. Concern for their pet delays or prevents them from escaping this vicious cycle of violence; in cases like these, these pets are as terrorized as their human counterparts. To help victims end this cycle and start anew, Ahimsa House provides support not only for human victims but also for their pets by providing them a temporary home.

Programs are slowly beginning to materialize and thrive in other states to address the growing issue of domestic violence against animals. These include:

  • Domestic Violence Project, Inc./SAFE House, Ann Arbor, MI

  • New Hope for Women, Rockland, ME

  • Salt Lake County Animal Services Safe Pets/Safe People, Salt Lake City,UT

  • El Dorado Women┐s Center Safe Pet Program, Placerville, CA

  • Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence┐s Safe Pet Sheltering Program, Denton, MD

  • Animal Welfare League of Alexandria: Safekeeping Program, Alexandria, VA

A nationwide network is currently being established by these programs in an effort to achieve a far-reaching drive to alleviate the effects and eventually eradicate domestic violence.

It warms my heart to know that such establishments exist, an establishment that cares enough for our pets to give them shelter and support in their time of need - a house every pet can truly call home.