Families don't usually bring pets to a shelter, but in this case it's the safest thing to do. Anna Marie's Alliance, a shelter established to protect families from domestic violence in St. Cloud, Minnesota, opened a pet shelter in December 2014 that's prepared to help family members who are fleeing from an abusive home worry about one less thing, the St. Cloud Times reported.
Creating a stress-free environment for families and pets
Anna Marie's Alliance advocate Margaret Bushlinger told the newspaper that the idea for a safe space for pets came when she heard a boy at the shelter worry that his father might kill the family dog after they left. She moved to design a foster system where a fleeing family could ensure that their pet was safe. However, this wasn't ideal because families were still separated from their pets, which caused stress, the newspaper explained.
The solution was a $116,000 set of crates and cages for dogs and cats that feature an outdoor area and is connected to the St. Cloud shelter."It's one less thing to stress about during a stressful situation," Charles Hempeck, executive director of Anna Marie's, told the Times.The pet shelter allows people to interact with their pets and relax. Not only are the pets comforting and familiar, but now people don't need to worry about leaving their pets behind in a dangerous environment. The hefty price tag for the pet area was paid for with a combination of donations from local pet owners and pet supply stores, among other businesses. However, the shelter does need additional payments for costs such as food. The newspaper promoted donations for the shelter at the website www.annamaries.org
.The newspaper also pointed to statistics saying that between 15 to 48 percent of women in abusive homes delay leaving because of pet concerns, with over 70 percent claiming that the abusive person has harmed the pet.
Signs of pet abuse
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explained that there are a few go-to signs that a pet is being abused. As a neighbor or casual observer, here are a few symptoms to look out for:
- Untreated skin infections or visible sores under the dog's coat
- Fleas, lice or other pests infesting the pet
- Poor grooming
- Weakness or extreme thinness
- Tight collar.
If you notice these symptoms and suspect abuse rather than a health condition, report the owner to the proper authorities, as the ASPCA explains here
. They'll help the pet get the help it needs.If you end up adopting an abused dog, use your PetPlus
membership to save on preventative and prescription medication like Frontline For Dogs or Triple Antibiotic Ointment to treat infestations and infections.