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Do you know how to protect your pet from domestic abuse?

If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, you already know how frightening it can be. It’s certain that you would never want to subject a beloved pet to your abuser’s violence.

All too often, batterers target their victims’ pets with episodes of cruelty and abuse. Some abusers use these tactics as a way to keep their victims firmly under their control. If such is the case in your relationship and you are plotting your escape, you will need to devise a safety plan for your pet as well.

Keep a stash of money to ensure that you will always have food and other provisions for your pet if your abuser cuts you off financially. Make sure that you have an affiliation with a 24-hour emergency vet who understands your situation. Get all licenses, papers, rabies tags and vet records in only your name to establish ownership.

Inquire about safe haven programs for pets for domestic violence survivors. If that is not possible, arrange for a safe temporary home for your pet while you are in transition. When you leave, take all of your pets belongings. Make sure that you have a carrier, collar, leash and tags that have only your cellphone number on them.

In your new environment, never let your pet roam alone. Keep it inside as much as possible and change the route and times of your daily walks. Make sure the new route is safe and around others. Change groomers and veterinarians for your pet.

If you continue to worry about your safety, your family law attorney can assist you with obtaining a restraining order forbidding your abuser from contacting you.

Source: Animal Welfare Institute, “Safety Planning for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims,” accessed Aug. 03, 2016

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