SafePet Ontario has partnered with local organizations to expand its program to help pet owners who are fleeing domestic violence in London and Middlesex County.
SafePet Ontario has partnered with Victim Services of Middlesex-London (VSML), the London Animal Care Centre, the Ontario Provincial Police, London Police Services and the Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service to help raise awareness.
Anova, the Women’s Rural Resource Centre and Animalert have also joined the network as authorized referral agents to help enroll individuals and their pets in the program. There are also four regional coordinators who will work with the program’s partners and arrange foster care for the pets of survivors.
Although SafePet Ontario has operated in the area for some time, the program has never had an established network of partners or fosters families. This regional collaboration is substantial, as London and Middlesex County is the largest network in the SafePet Ontario program that includes a variety of law enforcement agencies, both human and animal safety services, and multiple coordinators.
“Our community will greatly benefit from this type of resource,” says Lauren Krobisch, VSML’s coordinator of victim services. “We see victims of violence daily who don’t leave their abuser out of concern for their pet’s well-being. Their options are often leaving the pet at home with the abuser or surrendering the pet, as it can be very difficult to find safe space that’s pet-friendly.”
Administered by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, SafePet Ontario helps people and pets find safety sooner by coordinating foster care for the pets of survivors fleeing domestic violence.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many survivors to quarantine with their abusers, SafePet Ontario has seen a surge in requests for help since restrictions were lifted.
“To ensure the success of the program, foster families are needed to care for pets and to join our network of support for victims of abuse,” says Andrea Quenneville, a regional coordinator.
SafePet Ontario’s London and Middlesex network is looking for area foster families to provide temporary care for pets in need. Foster families play a vital role to help ensure that no pet is left behind in an abusive environment. To volunteer as a foster family, visit safepet.ca/pet-foster-parent.
For more information about the SafePet Ontario program and how you can help, visit www.safepet.ca.