Carrie Trembinski

There’s a well-documented link between interpersonal or domestic violence and animal abuse. Statistics presented at Humane Canada’s recent Violence Link Conference estimate that at least half of all women experiencing domestic violence delay leaving or stay in an abusive relationship out of fear of what may happen to their pet.  And a staggering 61 percent of Ontario women who had left an abusive partner reported their abuser had also harmed their pet. 

Despite these statistics, most women’s shelters in Canada are not equipped to house companion animals. Halton Women’s Place, the only women’s domestic violence shelter in the region, is now better able to help bridge this gap thanks to a new $17,000 grant from PetSmart Charities® of Canada.

“We know that women with pets who are experiencing violence will often remain in the home or live in their vehicles with their pets if they cannot obtain safe shelter for themselves and their animals. As a shelter, we’re committed to better supporting and empowering women with pets as they seek a safe harbour from abuse,” says Diane Beaulieu, Executive Director, Halton Women’s Place. With this new grant, Halton Women’s Place will offer pet boarding and veterinary care, free of charge, to the women and children they serve. “Our hope is that our new Safe Pet program will enable us to help even more women and pets in Halton to escape situations of violence together,” said Beaulieu.

The Safe Pet program is an emerging best practice in protecting women and pets from violence.  If a woman seeking shelter says she has a companion animal, the shelter will work closely with the client, local veterinarians, animal welfare agencies and pet boarding facilities and volunteers to ensure their pet receives any veterinary care or vaccinations needed and is safely transported out of the home and to a nearby kennel or boarding facility. Pets will be kept safe and healthy, and women and children may visit and interact with their pet until they can be reunited when new safer living arrangements have been found. 

While best known as a leading funder of animal welfare, PetSmart Charities of Canada is also committed to supporting projects that help keep people and pets together. “To protect all victims of violence, it’s imperative that the animal welfare and social services sectors work together,” says David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D. and president of PetSmart Charities of Canada. “We’re proud to provide grant funding that fosters innovative programs like the Safe Pet initiative Halton Women’s Place is launching. Companion animals are one of the greatest sources of comfort following traumatic events, and we’re pleased to play a small role in keeping survivors of violence and their beloved pets together.”

About Halton Women’s Place:
Serving the Halton Region community (Burlington, Milton & Oakville) in Ontario, Halton Women’s Place is an organization providing shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused women and their dependent children and is dedicated to ending violence against women and their children.  Learn more at www.haltonwomensplace.com

About PetSmart Charities of Canada:
PetSmart® Charities of Canada is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across Canada, PetSmart Charities of Canada helps to find forever homes and families for more than 25,000 shelter pets each year. PetSmart Charities of Canada also provides grant funding to registered Canadian charities aligned with its mission under four key areas of support: Preventing Pet Homelessness; Helping Shelter Pets Thrive; Supporting the Bond Between People and Pets and Providing Emergency Relief and Disaster Support. Each year, more than 500,000 generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities of Canada using the PIN pads at the checkouts inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities of Canada efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as a leading funder of animal welfare in Canada, granting more than $14 million since its inception in 1999. PetSmart Charities of Canada is a registered Canadian charity, a member of Imagine Canada and is independent from the PetSmart business in Canada. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.ca



PetSmart Charities of Canada finds homes for nearly 20,000 cats and dogs each year. The newest member of your family could be just a click away.