Upstate shelter receives grant to help victims escape to safety with their pets

Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 11:37 PM EDT
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PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - MARYS House (Ministry Alliance for Regaining Your Safety) has been awarded a grant for helping domestic abuse victims who are escaping danger with their pets.

RedRover gave the organization a check for $59,640.

According to the shelter’s executive director, Kristina Smith, at least half of the victims they see have pets.

“It’s not just dogs and cats. We have had a parrot, we’ve had a reptile, we’ve had a duck,” Smith said.

According to research, as many as 71 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report their abuser injured, killed, or threatened family pets for revenge or psychological control. Additionally, up to 48 percent of domestic violence victims reported delaying leaving their abusers because they feared what would happen to their pets if they had to leave them behind.

The shelter’s assistant director, Amanda Platt, has 20 years of veterinarian experience. She says pets understand the turmoil happening in the home.

“I mean, animals can tell,” she said. Even if you’re talking to them in a strong way, they know, they can sense what’s going on.”