As domestic violence continues to become a repetitive cycle, we cannot forget that animals are caught up in that cyclone and are helpless. A lot of people are surprised when domestic violence involves their pets. Articles here and here.
The use of your pet to control you is another way for the abuser to keep you in line. Yes, they will isolate you from friends and family. They will make you quit your job and keep you in the home.
The attachment between you and your pet is a space where jealousy, resentment, and anger can grow and fester. When the abuser sees you loving on your pet, they know how much he/she means to you. So, when all else fails… that pet is next in line to be a target for abuse.
When abusive partners threaten to harm or kill the family pet, that is a red flag! When abusive partners kick the pet, that’s a red flag! When abusive partners are aggressive towards the pet to get you to comply, that’s a red flag! When abusive partners hold the pet out the window, that’s a red flag!
Saying things like, “I will kill Spot, if you don’t give me all the money in your purse right now!” That’s a form of control. The abuser is telling you right there that he doesn’t care about anything other than the money he wants.
He doesn’t care about you, the children, or the pet. So, reasoning with him is a lost cause at this point. A lot of women won’t leave an abusive relationship b/c of the family pet, but there’s help out there to keep the pet safe as well.
💥 Always remember, the most DANGEROUS time is when you are leaving an abusive relationship!! 💥
There is always the choice to leave, but when you do please have a safety plan in place that involves your pet. Whether you take him/her to an animal shelter for a while. Or you take your pet to be with your family for a while. Or leave your pet with a trusted friend.
Either way, please don’t leave the pet with the abuser b/c they run the risk of being harmed in your absence and sometimes, even in your presence. Some say that animal abuse is the first sign that abuse is happening in the home. 💔💔💔
Currently, there are approximately 1,400 safe havens for pets nationally. See http://awionline.org/safe-havens
Pet and Woman Safety Act, Article here