OVMA’s SafePet Program is dedicated to assisting women in leaving abusive partners by providing temporary housing and care for their pets. Many women at risk of abuse are reluctant to leave their abusive partners and seek help at a women’s shelter if it means leaving their beloved pet behind with the abuser. Making that final decision to leave an abusive partner is a vital one; through OVMA’s SafePet Program, not only can women make this decision, they can make it more quickly and with ease.
48% of surveyed Ontario women who had left their abusive partner said
that their pets delayed their decision to leave an abusive partner. *
61% of surveyed Ontario women who had left their abusive partner
stated that their partners had brutalized or killed a pet. *
OVMA’s SafePet Program consists of 2 components:
- Volunteering Ontario veterinarians from across the province are participating in the SafePet Program meaning they have offered to take in pets that belong to women who have been accepted into women’s shelters. These volunteering veterinary clinics will provide the pets with necessary vaccination for admittance, food, shelter, and appropriate exercise for a two-week period of time so the woman at risk of abuse can find longer-term arrangements for their pets.
- Many Ontario veterinarians would like to participate in the program but simply do not have room to take in these pets. Therefore, the second component of the Program has been created through a partnership with OVMA and the Ontario government. Community members can now sign-up at local veterinary clinics to become temporary pet foster parents. These volunteers will take care of the pets in their home, yet still have access to a veterinarian for expert advice on taking care of the pets, when needed.
SafePet brochures are located in veterinary clinics, pet stores, public libraries, MPP and MP offices, women’s shelters, and designated Ontario government offices across the province. With volunteers choosing what type of pets they can take in and for how long, it’s easy for volunteers to participate. The Program provides animal lovers the opportunity to temporarily take care of a pet to help them decide if pet ownership is right for them or to enjoy the companionship of a pet from time-to-time when long-term pet ownership is not a possibility (e.g. in the case of a frequent traveler). But most importantly, the small gesture of taking in a pet for a short-period can not only help a woman at risk of abuse, her children, and her pets, it can actually save lives.
For step-by-step information on how this component works, please click here to view the SafePet brochure.
An OVMA Community Relations Program