LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A pet is often a beloved part of one’s family, but as a victim escapes an abuser, that pet can get left behind.
SafeNest is a haven for those seeking refugee from domestic violence in Clark County, but now, the non-profit is extending help to victims’ pets.
It has expanded its shelter services to include onsite pet boarding for cats and dogs thanks to a $20,000 grant from RedRover, CARES Act funding, and private donor support.
Almost 65% of domestic violence victims are unable to leave their abuser because they are concerned about what will happen to their pet when they leave, according to Safe Place for Pets.
Furthermore, 71% of victims report their pets are also being abused.
Often times, the batterer will use the pet as a manipulation tactic, threatening to kill the pet if the significant other leaves.
Having the family dog or cat in the shelter has an impact on the victim, SafeNest CEO Liz Ortenburger says.
“Seeing clients connect around a pet… be in the pet area and start chatting… kids start playing together and animals start playing together… it’s just the right environment for healing,” Ortenburger said.
The pet program includes two standalone housing units with air conditioning and heat, and several dog and cat kennels.
SafeNest has also installed a shaded, fenced play area.
“Let’s create an environment where those fleeing from domestic violence has as many of the barriers removed from that as possible because they deserve to be able to have a path filled with options and dignity, just like everybody else,” she said.
The non-profit is hosting a summer event on July 24. “Brew Anew: A Summer Soiree” will help raise money for future programs.