A shelter for families who are victims of domestic violence is expanding its facility with a large space to house pets. Named Paws for Peace Kennel, the space will be the first of its kind in Orlando, Florida.
Many victims of domestic violence do not leave their abusers for safety because they do not want to leave their pets behind. In fact 48% of domestic violence survivors delay leaving an abusive home because they don't have a safe place for their pets.
Knowing this, Harbor House, a shelter for families who are victims of domestic violence, has been planning Paws for Peace Kennel for several years. The project has been funded completely by community support. The much anticipated kennel will mean families will not be forced to leave their pets behind.
The 3000 square foot facility is currently under construction and will be able to house up to 40 pets and the space will have state-of-the-art housing, a grooming facility and outdoor play area and can accomodate cats, dogs and other animals.
At a recent preview tour of the facility Harbor House's CEO Carol Wick said, "This is a huge day. This has been many years in the planning. We’re very excited."
Harbor House shared some alarming statistics that further emphasize the need for such a facility. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, an estimated 88% of pets living in households with domestic violence are either abused or killed. Of all the survivors who enter shelters to escape violence, 57% have had a pet killed by their abuser.
Tragically, the beloved pets are used as leverage or retaliatory action by abusers as a way to maintain control over their victims. Survivors are often forced to make the painful choice to leave their pets behind.
"We don’t want them to hesitate. We don’t want them to say, 'Yes, but I have to look in the eyes of my beloved pet and say you can’t come with me,’" said Carol.
The kennel is expected to be completed on October 3rd. It will also include a donation center that will house items for residents of the emergency shelter.
Support the Paws for Peace Kennel at Harbor HouseHarbor House works to keep everyone safe from domestic abuse – even pets!
Why a Paws Kennel?
- 97% of Americans who have pets consider them to be members of the family.
- 48% of domestic violence survivors delay leaving an abusive home because they don’t have a safe place for their pets.
- Pet abuse is often a retaliatory action of abusers. Animals are used as leverage by the batterer as a means to control their victims or as part of a pre-emptive strike to gain or maintain control.
- According to the American Animal Hospital Association, an estimated 88% of pets living in households with domestic violence are either abused or killed.
- Of all survivors who enter shelters to escape violence, 57% have had a pet killed by their abuser.
- Harbor House will be the only shelter in Central Florida with a kennel for pets of domestic violence survivors.
- Pets are not Pawns!
About the Paws for Peace Kennel:
- The 1,500 square foot Kennel will be located onsite at Harbor House’s confidential Emergency Shelter. It will be housed in the same facility as the In-Kind Donation Center.
- Opening is set for late Spring 2012.
- Pets will be cared for by their owners: survivors of domestic abuse and residents of Harbor House’s Emergency Shelter.
- A visiting veterinarian from Orange County Animal Services will tend to pets’ health needs. Volunteers will assist with Kennel maintenance.
- Science Diet® has generously committed to supplying pet food to the Paws Kennel for at least the first year after opening.
- Operations of the Paws Kennel will be supported by the Paws for Peace Walk and donor contributions.
- The Kennel features a vet clinic, wash and dry area, 10 kennels for dogs and 10 for cats, as well as spaces for other pets, such as ferrets, birds, hamsters and small game animals. For larger game animals, Harbor House offers foster programs with local farms.
- There is a cat porch, complete with kitty condos and toys, three separate dog runs, as well as shared open space.
- The Paws Kennel was built to the highest standards of pet care, including individual ventilation systems for each pet unit, stainless steel kennels, and an elaborate HVAC and backup system.
- Survivors who keep their pets at the Paws Kennel will have special access to the facility so they can enjoy their pet’s company any time of day.
- Pets of domestic abuse survivors will be brought to Harbor House by Orange County Animals services, where they will receive necessary vaccinations.
How You Can Help:
Leave Your Mark and Create a Tile:
You can honor your pet by creating a ceramic tile for the main entrance of Paws for Peace Kennel. For a donation of $100, you can design your own tile with a picture of your pet and a personalized message.
- On the donation page, select the Paws Kennel campaign from the dropdown.
- In the “Leave Your Mark” section, select the option and donation level of your choice.
- Upload your favorite picture of your pet.
- Write a 25 character personalized message.
- Submit your order and the 6X6 ceramic tile will be mounted in the main entrance of the Kennel this Spring 2012.
- You can even order a duplicate tile or keepsake box for yourself!
Your tile will be adorned in entry of the kennel so that all who benefit from its services will share in the support provided by you and your pet.
Join the Paws Club:
Any donation over $10.00 qualifies you as a member of the Paws Club. On the donation page, we encourage you to join the Paws Club by selecting the membership option. Paws Club members receive the Paws for Peace Newsletter, a free Paws dog tag, and special offers from our sponsors!
Thank you to our generous partners:
- Orange County Animal Services
- Shampooch! (Lambs Eat Ivy Salon)
- Florida Department of Children and Families