New Minnesota Pet Foster Coalition Aims To Keep Victim Survivors of Domestic Violence and Their Pets Safe

According to the Purple Leash Project, nearly half of all domestic violence victim-survivors remain in abusive situations rather than leave their pets behind.

“We often hear from victim-survivors that they are wanting to leave an abusive situation but are concerned for the safety/wellbeing of their pets,” said Cornerstone’s Day One MNAFAS program. “Knowing there is immediate care available, even for a short period, can make all the difference in the world.”

The greatest need is foster homes to keep victim-survivors’ pets safe. Fostering options include short-term (up to 72 hours) or long-term (up to 90 days).

This critical gap in services across Minnesota is why providers Women’s Advocates, Tubman, and Cornerstone are joining forces with animal welfare organizations The Bond Between, Four Winds Connections, and Animal Humane Society to create the Minnesota Pet Foster Coalition. Together, we will expand temporary pet housing services to those staying in an emergency shelter at Women’s Advocates, Tubman, or Cornerstone. Fosters choose to care for a pet for up to 72 hours or up to 90 days while their owner seeks safety. Transport volunteers are also needed to help move animals and supplies throughout the fostering process. 

The mission of this coalition is to break the cycle of abuse and eliminate barriers that prevent individuals from seeking safety in shelters by providing a comprehensive solution for the care of their pets.

“When you’re going through something very traumatic like that, your pet kind of becomes your safety net. I knew I couldn’t leave them there because I was afraid {my abuser} would hold that against me and abuse them and do something to manipulate the situation so I’d come back” ~ victim-survivor

The Bond Between and Animal Humane Society provide food, veterinary care, and any items needed to care for the pet free of charge. Four Winds Connection offers free training and behavioral support.

“One of our missions at The Bond Between is to keep people and pets together,” said Carrie Openshaw, Director of Community Outreach at The Bond Between. “We want to make fostering accessible to everybody. We provide all supplies, anything you would need—baby gates, crates, bowls, leashes—anything you can think of.”

 “It’s really important to have safe spaces for animals; it helps reduce barriers for women who need to access shelter and housing,” says Holly Henning, Executive Director at Women’s Advocates.

As a community, we can keep victim-survivors and their pets safe from domestic violence. Join our mission and apply today.

CATEGORIES: News, Spotlights



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Cornerstone’s continuum of service helps to create communities where individuals and families are safe and children thrive. We advocate, educate and lead the way to social change. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking and general crime.

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