A new study reports that nearly one-third of domestic violence victims decide not to leave or seek assistance at a shelter out of concern for pets that they will be leaving at home. Unfortunately, “only about 3% of domestic violence shelters nationwide can accommodate pets.” With the expiration of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the President has signed into law a new act that aims to include pets. The “Pets and Women Safety Act” or PAWS, is intended to protect victims of domestic violence from trauma caused by the manipulation or mistreatment of pets. Research shows that abusers often also inflict abuse on family pets as a way of to intimidate or exert control over their partners. PAWS will contain a grant program that will support the construction and operating expenses for shelters to either build or continue operating pet shelters within domestic violence shelters.
Animal Welfare Institute
The Animal Welfare Institute has collaborated with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to create the Safe Havens Mapping Project for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims. The interactive map allows those with pets seeking safe shelter to quickly see what the options are in their designated area or even outside of their designated area if they so choose. In Washington, Safe Havens lists 49 shelters that are willing to provide safe shelter for victims with pets. Granted, shelter does not always mean that they will be housed together in the same shelter. The entities typically either provide sheltering services for the pets of domestic violence victims, have a relationship with such an entity, or provide referral services to facilities that will shelter the pet. Washington statistics are as follows:
- Washington (Overall): 49 listings
- Seattle: 13 listings
- Shelter offering housing on-site with human companion: 0 listings.
Domestic Violence in Washington
Domestic violence is always a tricky charge because it can be made up of many different charges and can occur between people who know each other through several different relationships. In Washington, domestic violence is legally defined as:
- “Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members;
- Sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or
- Stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
A family or household member includes but is not limited to the following relationships:
- Former spouses or partners;
- Those in a current or prior dating relationship;
- Legal parent-child relationship; and
- Adult persons who live together or who have lived together in the past;
Contact a Seattle Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Domestic violence charges should always be taken seriously. Attorney Steve Karimi is a highly experienced a dedicated domestic violence defense attorney who will work hard for you. Mr. Karimi is a “top-rated” criminal defense lawyer in the Seattle area who is a former King County prosecutor who now uses his legal knowledge and insight to fight for the rights of those accused. Don't wait, contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today.