Banfield Foundation commits $1M to domestic violence programs

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The Banfield Foundation announced that it has committed to investing $1 million over four years through its Safer Together initiative to raise awareness of the link between domestic violence and animal abuse and to help victims of domestic violence and their pets find safety.

"Victims often remain in a dangerous environment because they do not have access to a pet-friendly shelter or program, and we believe saving the life of a pet can save the life of a human," said Kim Van Syoc, executive director of the Banfield Foundation, in a March 5 announcement about the Safer Together initiative.

The foundation's new Safer Together grant program enables nonprofit organizations to apply for funding as they increase their capacity to help people and pets escaping domestic violence. Funding will largely focus on ensuring pets have access to veterinary care, temporary shelter, and behavior training. Nonprofits can also use a portion of the grant money to cover costs of a dedicated animal support specialist.

Ahimsa House fosters pets of domestic violence victims in Georgia. Myra Rasnick, executive director of the program, said in the March 5 announcement: "Approximately 95 percent of pets entering our program require some form of veterinary care whether preventive or emergency to treat injury or illness due to abuse and neglect. Veterinarians play a crucial role in not only treating these pets, but also recognizing the signs of animal cruelty."

Later this year, the Banfield Foundation will focus its efforts on raising awareness within the general public as well as the veterinary profession about the link between domestic violence and animal abuse.

Related JAVMA content:

When domestic violence arrives at the clinic door (Sept. 15, 2018)

Pets to live in apartments at new domestic violence shelter (Sept. 15, 2018)

Shelter for pets of domestic violence victims expands (Sept. 15, 2018)