Webinar presenter Katie Campbell answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Supporting Domestic Violence Survivors and their Pets through Collaboration. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: So, Katie, kicking things off that stat about 42% of 5-year-olds talk to their pets, where was that from?
Katie Campbell: Yes, 42% of 5-year-olds did mention their pets when asked” Who do you turn to when you are feeling sad, angry, happy, or wanting to share a secret?”. This has been cited many times and can originally be found here: Melson, G. F.,& Schwarz, R. (1994, October). Pets as social supports for families of young children. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Delta Society, New York.
Audience Question: Could you expand on what you meant by a safety planning with pets?
Katie Campbell: Sure. So, for domestic violence organizations, when you’re doing your safety planning with your survivors. You’re making a plan to get them ready to leave an abusive situation and oftentimes pets get left out of that. One of the really simple ways that you can prepare a survivor for leaving is encouraging them to get any paperwork that they might have for the pet. You know, veterinary paperwork, ownership, microchip, that kind of thing. Anything that they might have that shows them as the owner of the pet. Go ahead and get that ready and with safety planning materials, whatever bag, they’re going to take with them. Keep in mind though that one of the tactics abusers might use is to not allow vet care at all or in the survivor’s name. So that may not be available but even just grabbing like a pet’s favorite toy or a blanket or some of their food like an emergency supply of food having that with the supplies the survivor is going to take with them when they leave is super important.
Audience Question: Samantha asked, could she share your checklists with other programs across our state?
Katie Campbell: Absolutely. Yes, please do.
Audience Question: Could you clarify? You said that the client must be in the shelter before they can apply for boarding help. How does that timing work if you’ve got a client who doesn’t want to just abandon their pet so they don’t want to come into the shelter, but they want to make sure they have a place? How does that timing work?
Katie Campbell: Sure, so this does get a little tricky, which is why safe escape grants are a band-aid approach. So what I would encourage you to do, ideally, as a domestic violence organization, at the very least, what you could do is maybe set up some sort of emergency kennel area at your shelter where the pet can stay for 24 hours until you get that boarding setup. Sometimes, unfortunately, we do get calls where the survivor has left, and the pet is still with the abuser at home we’ll say. So, our case managers always encourage with the help of the Domestic Violence Shelter Advocate, try and get that police escort to go back and get the pet. You know, it’s not the best scenario for it. So, try and think of some strategies and where you can just provide some temporary kenneling at your shelter for that. It’s also a really great reason to communicate with your law enforcement officers. So, you know, establish that relationship with them so that your law enforcement officers are asking about pets when they’re responding in the first place. Maybe you can work with the local animal organization to set up a 24 or 48-hour hold, a kennel hold, you know, for the pet so the law enforcement officer, can bring the pet there until a more long-term situation is setup. That was a sort of a convoluted answer, but I hope that helped.
Audience Question: Ana wants to know if this is in Canada?
Katie Campbell: So, hopefully soon. We do on our safe placeforpets.org website, we do list the resources that are available, the pet-friendly resources there, and the provinces. It is a direction that we hope to be able to go to soon and it’s just a little bit challenging, you know, to share money across the border right now, so, hopefully, soon.
Audience Question: And speaking of resources, Jackie wants to know how they can list their shelter to your list for pets, they being a local shelter to be able to support other domestic violence areas? Can they list their shelter on your list?
Katie Campbell: Domestic violence and animal organizations that do have pet-friendly programs that are not listed on SafePlaceForPets.org can visit here to have their program added: https://safeplaceforpets.org/report-error-or-add-shelter.
Audience Question: Is there an educational resource for vet employees to recognize domestic violence?
Katie Campbell: So that’s a great question and I’m really glad that you asked it. We are working on putting together a poster that would be available for veterinarians for that sole purpose. Greg, can you please send me an e-mail and I would love to keep you posted on that and I can also maybe direct you to a few other veterinarians who are really well versed in this and can offer some support.
Audience Question: Do you have any idea how common it is for sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) examiners how often they ask about pets in homes when they’re interviewing victims. Do you know if that question has been worked into their routine?
Katie Campbell: I am going to be very honest and say that I have no idea. I would say considering the link between human and animal violence and just want to get all the different entities who work within those different types of violence on board, I would say that that would be a really great direction and conversation to have to get those folks ready and able and comfortable in asking those questions. I think that would be a phenomenal resource to have them in the home and asking.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Supporting Domestic Violence Survivors and their Pets through Collaboration.