Published: August, 2020| Zoë Agnew-Svoboda, Nancy Blaney, Melinda D. Merck, Mary Lou Randour

Victims of domestic abuse are often unwilling to leave their companion animals behind when they seek shelter from their abusers. This becomes more difficult in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Victims who are quarantined with their abusers are at risk with fewer opportunities and resources to seek help with their pets. This webinar provides a critical review of the research, including an examination of the human-animal bond, the co-occurrence of domestic violence and pet abuse, and how the severity of pet abuse is linked to the severity of domestic violence. The presenters discuss existing policies that respond to the special needs arising from this relationship, such as the inclusion of companion animals on protection orders.

The second part of the webinar examines the role of veterinarians in identifying animal abuse, especially that which may be part of violence in the home, as well as serving as, or connecting with, safe havens to assist victims seeking safe accommodations for their pets. Finally, participants learn about options that survivors with pets have when leaving their abusers, whether that be through temporary boarding or through shelters.

The discussion includes accommodations Rose Brooks Center has for pets and strategies they are using to help survivors with pets during the COVID-19 crisis.