Fostering safety

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s an all-too common circumstance for millions of people in the United States.

On average, 20 people are physically abused — every minute — by an intimate partner. A local organization has a program working to help victims and their pets and you may be able to help.

“They can put on the front that everything is fine, everything is wonderful. But then behind closed doors, it’s a total nightmare,”

It’s a sobering statistic — one in three women and one in four men experience physical violence by an intimate partner.

It can become a daily occurrance. And for some — the reason for not leaving is a pet.

“Imagine coming home and finding your significant other beating the pet or torturing the pet or threatening that they’re going to do something to the pet,” Domestic Violence Service Center volunteer and education coordinator Tammy Rodgers said.

It’s “all too common” says Rodgers.

Many times victims won’t leave an abusive situation — because they’re afraid of leaving their animal behind.

“You hear all of the trauma, all of the hurt, all of the anxiety, and also all of the fear that I can’t leave because I know what my abuser is going to do to the pet,” Rodgers said.

That’s where the “foster care pet program” comes in to help.

“If someone is a victim, and they do have an incident, and they are worried about their family pet, we will make arrangements for that pet to be fostered while that victim can be helped,” Domestic Violence Service Center development coordinator Sherry Castrine said.

Due to the safety concerns of victims and their pets, these animals shown here are not in the program, but many pets are. Volunteers are needed to give animals a safe home while their owner is seeking help in a shelter.

Each situation is different. You may care for a dog or cat for a matter of days or weeks.

“Until the victim can get back on their feet again,”

“I think it gives them a sense of relief that not only are they out of that situation, but their pet is as well,” Castrine said.

Foster pet volunteers are needed right now. It’s a gesture that can potentially help save a life and always offer hope.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer call the domestic violence service center at 570-823-7312. You’ll then complete a simple application process.

For more information, visit

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