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Leaving is one of the hardest things to do. Our vision is to help people and their pets begin new, safe lives. Together.


The Need

Warm Hearts Pet Safe Havens Association has identified the need for survivors of domestic violence in British Columbia to obtain safe shelter for themselves and their pets.

  • Recent research shows 56% of survivors of intimate partner violence in BC delay leaving out of concern for their pet
  • Less than half of the shelters in BC are pet-friendly

Domestic violence and its impact on the family pet is not limited to British Columbia.  It is nationwide and international:

  • In Canada, spousal abuse is closely linked with abuse of companion animals: 89% of women reported that their partner had mistreated or threatened their companion animals
  • In the US, 52% of DV survivors leave their pets with their batterers
  • In the US, nearly 50% of domestic violence survivors have delayed leaving their abuser out of fear of harm to their animals
  • In the US, 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control their victims, and 32% reported their children had hurt or killed animals

These numbers indicate a high need for sustainable housing for DV survivors and their animal companions. When survivors of intimate partner violence and their pets can find alternate and affordable housing, society as a whole stands to benefit.


The Hope

Though we can’t save the world, we can have an impact on our little corner of it. Warm Hearts Pet Safe Havens operates in British Columbia. While there are about 100 transition houses and safe homes for survivors of domestic violence in BC (Transition Houses & Safe Homes List), few of these have infrastructure available to house pets (BC Society of Transition Houses Member Directory). Transition houses may be able to arrange for housing off-site, but wherever possible, we encourage animal companions of survivors be housed in pet-friendly rooms with their owner.

​This can make a big difference to DV survivors who have strong bonds with their animal companions. In a recent emergency hotline study, 71% of callers indicated they wanted their pet to reside in the shelter with them. Therefore, providing financial assistance to house animal companions would help not only improve safe housing access and lower financial pressure, but also give survivors peace of mind knowing their pet will be safe as well. If you reside outside of BC, please see the Resources link below for the ShelterSafe clickable shelter location map.