Nearly 50 percent of metro women in abusive relationships don't want to leave because they don't want to leave their pets behind.
Studies show about 70 percent of domestic violence survivors say that their abuser also injured, maimed, killed or threatened their pets and many women are willing to risk their own lives to make sure their beloved pets are OK.
Now one shelter is doing something to get more women out of danger and possibly save more lives.
Not wanting to leave aren't words someone would expect to hear from women desperately trying to flee their abusers. Kristin Brumm, the associate director of SAFEHOME, does and knows what comes next.
"'I'm afraid he will hurt the animal' or ‘he has threatened to do so if I leave,'" she said.
Brumm helps run SAFEHOME, Johnson County's domestic violence shelter. The shelter serves about 9,000 women, children and men each year. She said nearly half of metro women in abusive relationships delay or refuse to leave because of their pets.
"They don't know if they (the pets) are safe, being cared for and it's almost like leaving a child behind," she said.
That's why SAFEHOME is raising money to build a pet shelter on its property. Great Plains SPCA will provide veterinary care, food and other specialized services.
"There are some situations that really make your heart hurt and I'm grateful that we are here to help pets to regain their strength and to set them on a path for a new life," said Courtney Thomas with Great Plains SPCA.
"This will make it a lot easier," Brumm said. "Our goal in this is to remove the barriers to leaving and pet ownership is a significant barrier so if we can get them in here and with the pet and we can work with them, even if the pet doesn't stay long-term, to find a safe foster situation for the pet, while the women and children are here, then we have removed that barrier to safety."
It will be easier for women to leave their abuser without leaving the one thing that gives them comfort and love.
The pet shelter is part of a $2.9 million Capital Campaign currently underway at SAFEHOME. In addition the pet shelter, they are also adding more beds and expanding the counseling children's programs.
They're hoping to open by next January or February but, until then, SAFEHOME is working with the women they take in to find foster families for the pets, so women and their kids can get into a safe situation as soon as possible.
When they open the pet shelter, they are only accepting dogs, cats and smaller caged animals like rabbits, but they say they will work hard to find foster families or other facilities for exotic or large animals like horses.
If you want to help out go to safehome-ks.org to donate and to find more information about SAFEHOME.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:43:54 GMT
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