Your loyal cat, dog, or other pet has probably provided you with love and comfort when you needed it most. We understand how important that is and how difficult it must be if you’re concerned someone might abuse your pet.

It’s a sad truth. Abusers often threaten, harm, or even kill family pets.

These actions can:

  • Keep an abused partner from leaving.
  • Manipulate an abused partner into returning to the relationship or complying with his wishes.
  • Force their partner or children to keep quiet about abuse that goes on in the home or relationship.
  • Perpetuate an atmosphere of terror and fear.

If concern for, or abuse of, your pet is making it hard for you to plan for your own safety, we may be able to help.

Here are some things you might consider doing*:

  • Call our free helpline at 1.800.863.9909. We’ll listen and talk with you about your options and about safety planning for you and your pet.
  • Establish ownership of your pet—get a license from your town or city office and veterinary receipts in your name. That way, if you call the police or ask the courts or your local humane society for help, you’ll have proof you’re the owner and can make decisions about your pet.
  • Create an emergency plan. Find a friend or family member who’ll care for your pet for awhile. You can contact your local humane society for help—and don’t worry. No one expects you to give up your pet.
  • Put together an emergency bag with vaccination records, an extra collar or leash, any medication needed, bowls, and bedding in case you need to get a pet out of a dangerous situation quickly.
  • Contact police or animal control officers if you have to leave without your pet and fear for its safety.

Even if your partner or spouse isn’t violent towards you, please take threats to or abuse of your pets seriously. Studies confirm that animal abuse means violence against you or your children is likely on the horizon.

*The Humane Society of the United States