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THE SAFE PETS SAFE FAMILIES STORY
Founded in 2013 by Jennifer Howard, Safe Pets Safe Families is a not-for-profit registered charity providing support through programs and services to pet owners in the South Australian community facing disadvantage or crisis, such as domestic violence, homelessness, mental illness or a medical emergency.
Founder Jennifer Howard started Safe Pets Safe Families after surviving her own experience of domestic violence. Sadly, Jennifer did not have a choice on whether to keep her beloved dogs when she fled to safety with her children. Her only option was to surrender them to a shelter where she fears they may have been euthanised unnecessarily.
Safe Pets Safe Families, or how I see the name Safe Pets = Safe Families, provides a frontline crisis foster and vet care service, as well as ongoing support and developing intervention programs to stop the cycle of violence.
When I experienced domestic violence, I had to flee to safety with my children into a domestic violence shelter without the option to take my much-loved dogs, and I never saw them again. They ended up at the pound and likely euthanised. The pain and injustice I felt has never left me; it still haunts me to this day. I can’t change my story or bring my dogs back, but I can change other people’s stories and keep their pets safe.
My experiences in life led me on a journey of reflection, self-education and understanding of why things happen. I learnt about intergenerational poverty, intergenerational violence and the link between animal abuse and family violence.
Thousands of studies support the link, in fact: “Over the past 35 years, researchers and professionals in a variety of human services and animal welfare disciplines have established significant correlations between animal abuse, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, elder abuse and other forms of violence. Mistreating animals is no longer seen as an isolated incident that can be ignored. It is often an indicator or predictor crime and a “red flag” warning sign that other family members in the household may not be safe.” says the National Link Coalition.
Seventy-six percent of animal abusers also abuse a family member. Seventy percent of animal abusers have criminal records and more than fifty percent of schoolyard shooters have histories of animal cruelty according to US studies.
If you are interested in reading more about my story, or more about the link between domestic violence and animal abuse, visit www.mysavinggrace.org.au.
DID YOU KNOW?
Over 70% of women reporting domestic violence incidents said
their abusers threatened, hurt or killed their pets.
DID YOU KNOW?
Over 70% of women reporting domestic violence incidents said their abusers threatened, hurt or killed their pets.
We work with people and pets in crises to improve outcomes and reduce the occurrence of surrender, animal abuse, neglect and euthanasia. We actively assist our clients in finding safe housing and provide strategies to reduce the incidence of intergenerational poverty.
- We provide care with dignity
- We demonstrate respectful and honest relationships
- We provide fair and equitable access to our service
- We are flexible in our care approach and adapt to meet individual needs
- We respect and value the human-animal bond
- We support and encourage continual learning
- We work to get the best outcomes for our clients and their pets
- To keep pets of individuals or families going through difficult times, due to homelessness, mental health, domestic violence or sickness, united with their owners.
- To provide a dedicated service through its network of volunteers, donated services, support and outreach programs that fosters the wellbeing of the pet/s and people through either and/or case management, support, housing, temporarily fostering, education or vet services, with the aim of keeping pet/s with their loved ones or reuniting them as soon as possible.
- To encourage a more compassionate and supportive attitude towards the homeless keeping their pet/s, so they can maintain that special bond which is of benefit to both dog and owner.
- To create a sustainable organisation which can continue to offer care to pet/s during these times of difficulty and separation.
- To reduce the number of healthy pets being surrendered to shelters due to financial difficulty, hence saving them from unnecessary euthanasia and keeping them with their family.
- To assist with the financial burden during crises by providing basic vet care and basic needs to their pet/s.
- To provide educational programs to children that may have witnessed violence towards an animal to reduce future harm to animals.
- To promote a pet-friendly Australia and increase pet-friendly accommodation to reduce homelessness.
- To break the cycle of generational poverty by developing community engagement projects in the way of workshops, programmes and life skill camps for adults and children from economically and/or emotionally deprived background.