The New Hope Dog Rescue Animal Safekeeping Program Helps Pet Owners Fleeing Violence
On September 21 and 22, 2017, I attended The Link conference in Regina that was hosted by the Saskatchewan SPCA. The two-day conference explored the correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence – a relationship which is often referred to as “the Link.”
As I listened to all of the presenters, I was not only shocked to hear some of the statistics several presenters shared, I was also surprised that there were very few programs available to help animals owned by victims when leaving domestic violence situations in Saskatchewan. The fact that Saskatchewan has double the national average of domestic violence rates was very disturbing!
The biggest thing that I still have a hard time wrapping my head around is that there were so few programs for animals where the owner is fleeing a domestic violence situation. As I sat there listening to all the presenters, I knew New Hope Dog Rescue had to be a part of making changes so victims did have a place for their animals to go for a short period of time, allowing both the victim and their animals the chance to leave the abuser.
Shortly after I returned to Saskatoon, I put together some of the information I had received at the conference and presented it to our Board of Directors. After that meeting, I had a few meetings with the Saskatchewan SPCA staff and in collaboration we were able to develop our Animal Safekeeping Program (ASK). It did take us some time to get the details worked out, but I am very proud to say we were able to assist our first dog in the fall of 2018.
Referrals from a human service professional are required to access the ASK Program. Several presentations were made in the Saskatoon area to share the information about our program. Information is available on New Hope Dog Rescue’s website about the ASK Program. We are happy to have support of our program from our community.
Our program provides free care for pets owned by the victims fleeing interpersonal violence. Pets will be cared for in loving foster homes for up to 90 days. The foster homes have received specialized training to meet the needs of pets coming from homes where there has been violence or abuse. ASK was developed to protect the safety and confidentiality of both the victims and their pets. This program is available at no charge for the pet owner. All necessary food and pet care supplies (e.g., bowls, leashes) are provided. Veterinary care is also available.
New Hope will continue this program as long as there is a need. We know every single pet deserves to feel safe. We are committed to making a difference in our community!
Submitted by Tami Vangool Executive Director, New Hope Dog Rescue