A Shelter In Iowa Announces Housing For Domestic Abuse Victims And Their Pets

When families are in crisis and fleeing from an abusive situation is the only thing to do, the load will now be a little lighter for the pet-loving residents of the Cooper’s House in Iowa.

Last week, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program announced the addition of a boarding facility for dogs and cats on the property. Construction is expected to be completed by July.

domestic violence shelter housing victims pets

Missie Forbes, the developmental director for DVIP said that a shocking 48% of domestic abuse victims with pets refuse to leave, or delay leaving in order to keep their pets safe. She stated that abusers will use threats against their victims’ beloved pets in order to control them. The option to have their pets on site will help to alleviate this concern.

domestic violence shelter housing victims pets

DVIP already offers a fostering program that places dogs, cats and even exotic pets into safe homes while abuse victims are living at Cooper’s House. The new pet facility will consist of 3 indoor dog kennels, a fenced dog run, and an indoor cat haven designed to house about 12 felines at a time. Forbes anticipates that roughly 15 to 20 pets per year will seek refuge with their families at Cooper’s House.

domestic violence shelter housing victims pets

The cost of the new pet program is estimated to be about $30,000 per year. $6,000 will be covered by a grant from a nationwide initiative known as the RedRover Program.  Cooper’s House will also receive assistance from the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center and local pet store, Leash on Life.

domestic violence shelter housing victims pets

In addition to the kennels and cat sanctuary, the DVIP currently has a Golden Retriever in training as a therapy dog.  Once trained, she will provide emotional support for victims and their children at Cooper’s House and in their outreach program. They also plan to add a part-time pet therapist to the staff this summer to support abused animals.

domestic violence shelter housing victims pets

Forbes believes the new pet facilities will provide much needed emotional relief to victims of domestic violence.

“Adding something like this is an innovative program. It’s just one more way to assist our clients to be able to live a productive life free of fear of any sort of safety issues. It’s just one more way we are fulfilling our mission.”

Donations to help defray the annual costs of the DVIP pet program are warmly appreciated and may be made through their website.


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