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Webinar Series: Safe Places for People and Their Pets

Animal Welfare, Family Ties, Humane Education, Pets, The Link, Webinars

January 12, 2022

Did you know … The victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) often stay in a violent situation rather than leave without their pets.

There are limited options for animal owners who want to leave an abusive relationship. Currently, most domestic violence shelters in Saskatchewan do not allow pets.

Join us for this special 3-part webinar series exploring domestic violence and how it affects both people and their pets. Everyone welcome to attend this free webinar series.


Time: Noon – 1 p.m.

January 19 — Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T)®

Presenter: Allie Phillips

Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T)®, through its Founder/CEO Attorney Allie Phillips, has led to movement to create on-site pet housing across the globe since the publication of the first written guidelines for domestic violence shelters in 2008. With up to 68% of women delaying going into shelter because of concerns for their pets, the requests for pet-friendly safe housing is on the rise. When domestic violence shelters are overwhelmed with resource limitations and numerous programs, the SAF-T Program helps with simplicity and to eliminate this barrier to safety. In this presentation attendees will understand the research supporting the need for pet-friendly housing, how preserving the human-animal bond can help survivors with resiliency and healing, 4 different SAF-T housing models, and how to overcome common concerns such as allergies, fear of pets and lack of space for pet housing. Existing shelter pet housing programs will be featured.

January 26 — Becoming Pet Friendly: Guidance for domestic violence shelters

Presenters: Crystal Giesbrecht and Laura Zmud

SaskSPCA, Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) and STOPS to Violence undertook a project to study the feasibility of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters and to develop guidance for domestic violence shelters to welcome pets. The project included consultation with domestic violence shelters, including pet-friendly shelters in other provinces, and the development of a business plan, considering costs and partnerships. This session with share key learning relevant to the development of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters. This includes infrastructure needs, financial considerations, and partnership building.

February 9 — Take Action: Here’s how you can assist the victims of domestic violence & their pets

Presenters: Allie Phillips, Crystal Giesbrecht, and Laura Zmud

What are the signs of an abusive relationship? Is it still abuse if there is no physical violence? What is the cycle of violence? How common is domestic violence in Saskatchewan? Where can you get help if you are in danger? Are there any pet-friendly domestic violence shelters?

We’ll be discussing some of the many ways you can take action to help the victims of domestic violence and their pets.

Our presenters:

Allie Phillips

Allie Phillips is an author, attorney and advocate for protecting vulnerable victims. As Founder & CEO of the Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T)® Program, she has led the global movement in helping domestic violence shelters to create on-site pet housing.

With over 25 years of experience in helping animal and human survivors of abuse, she has been educating criminal justice professionals since 1997 and specializing in how animal abuse links to family violence. She is an award winning book author and is on the steering committee of the National Link Coalition, past-chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Animal Law Section, and a member of the National Coalition on Violence Against Animals.

Crystal Giesbrecht

Crystal Giesbrecht is the Director of Research and Communications at the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS), the member association for domestic violence shelters and counselling centres. She is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Justice Studies at the University of Regina and a member of the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability’s (CFOJA) Expert Advisory Panel.

Crystal’s work at PATHS includes educating professionals and the public on best practices for supporting survivors of intimate partner violence and conducting research relating to intimate partner violence. She has conducted research in Saskatchewan on the connection between intimate partner violence, animal maltreatment, and the need for animal safekeeping.

Laura Zmud, BSW, RSW

With her volunteer and work experience helping both people and animals, Laura Zmud recently joined the SaskSPCA in the newly created position of Family Ties Coordinator. After completing her Bachelor of Social Work degree, she served as the first Jordan’s Principle Service Coordinator for the Saulteaux First Nation Health Centre. She continues to work on a casual basis as a Medical Social Worker at Royal University Hospital and as a Veterinary Assistant at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre.