BURLINGTON, ON—November 5, 2020 – As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, another global pandemic looms under the surface – domestic abuse and intimate partner violence. In Canada around 99,000 people a year report being the victim of interpersonal violence, according to Statistics Canada. As quarantine protocols remain in many areas to protect the public from the virus, many domestic abuse victims and their pets are finding themselves now trapped with their abuser. Up to 48% of domestic abuse victims do not leave their abuser because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets, and with few domestic violence shelters accepting pets into their facilities, survivors often feel they have few choices beyond staying in a violent situation.
This November during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, PetSmart Charities and PetSmart Charities of Canada are continuing to keep pets and people together with a $2.1 million commitment to programs serving at-risk pet parents experiencing domestic abuse and other crises heightened by COVID-19, across the U.S. and Canada. Funding will support an array of programs such as pet-friendly domestic violence shelters, pet deposits for pet-friendly housing, emergency pet boarding and other initiatives to ensure pets and people remain together during uncertain times.
“Not only are pets a common reason why victims delay leaving their abusers, animal abuse is often the first indicator of domestic violence within a household,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities and PetSmart Charities of Canada. “We’re proud to support communities across the U.S. and Canada to provide resources that bridge the gap to a safer environment for both people and pets – especially during the pandemic.”
Coast-to-coast, from the U.S. to Canada, grants have been distributed to animal welfare organizations as well as social services agencies for people fleeing domestic abuse, precariously housed people, those too ill to care for their pets and LGBTQ+ youth facing housing instability. Below is a summary of some of the Canadian organizations who have received grants to help prevent pet relinquishment or separation.
- Alberta SPCA received a $25,000 grant to expand its, One Family Welfare: Crisis Care Program, that supports individuals at risk of losing their pets due to crisis situations such as physical and mental health issues, addictions, homelessness and family violence, with a goal of providing pet friendly programming including short-term pet fostering, pet services, and pet supplies to an estimated 50 clients and their pets annually.
- Nellie’s Women’s Shelter in Toronto is undergoing renovation to become a pet-friendly, co-sheltering shelter. Its $50,000 grant is supporting Nellie’s Pet Friendly Program, which provides case management, services and supplies to people and pets fleeing domestic abuse.
- Nova Scotia SPCA is using its $58,000 grant to support its Paws & Support program which boards the pets of individuals fleeing domestic abuse or experiencing hospitalization, as well as to support its food banking and supplies program which will provide support for an estimated 900 pets across the province.
- Vancouver Humane Society’s $30,000 grant is supporting the Preventing Women's Homelessness Project, which supports women and families escaping domestic abuse, with a goal of implementing and carrying out a pet safety net program to an estimated 50-75 clients and their pets annually.
To learn more about PetSmart Charities of Canada and its Preserving Families grants visit: www.petsmartcharities.ca
About PetSmart Charities® of Canada
PetSmart® Charities of Canada is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Each year, more than 500,000 generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities of Canada using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities of Canada efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as a leading funder of animal welfare in Canada, granting more than $21.7 million since its inception in 1999. PetSmart Charities of Canada is a registered Canadian charity, a member of Imagine Canada and is independent from the PetSmart business in Canada. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.ca
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