Nor should animals. I hate to report this, but according to Pet-Abuse.com, Florida is #1 in the nation when it comes to cruelty to animals. When I read that, it hurt my heart. There are so many wonderful, loving people in this state, many who, with limited financial and physical resources, devote their lives to the well-being of all kinds of animals.
Given that, I have reason to believe the trend can be reversed.
One area where change is starting to manifest itself is the way in which domestic violence shelters deal with their clients who have left pets in the very homes they fled. Many had little choice at the time. Most domestic violence shelters don't have accommodations for pets. I used to work at such a facility years ago and I once mentioned this very topic to our director. While she was a sympathetic cat person, her reply was a bit out of touch, "Well, the men won't hurt the pets."
Well, yes, they do. Unfortunately, we've learned that when a woman leaves, the chance for harm to come to the remaining "family" pet nearly quadruples. The anger, the violence, hasn't left the house and a dog, cat, rabbit, or other smaller animal makes a handy and helpless target.
Harbor House of Central Florida and the Central Florida Humane Society’s PAWS program have joined forces to create an on-site kennel for about 15 pets. Now women who have fled a violent life with their companion animal can be assured of the pets protection as well. The project will be complete in early 2010.
You can help! To donate or support the program, please contact Carol Wick at Harbor House at 407-886-2244.
For those needing such services, Harbor House has a 24-Hour Crisis Hotline which can be reached by calling 800-500-1119.