SafePet Foster Program for Victims of Domestic Violence
OPIN has partnered with the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, headquartered in Stamford, to lend support to victims of domestic violence. It’s not only the humans who are affected by domestic violence, but also their pets. Abusers often threaten the welfare of the pets in an effort to control the victim. Afraid to leave their pets behind, the abused often choose not to leave their situation. That is where OPIN can help.
OPIN’s SafePet Program will allow the victims peace of mind, knowing their pets are taken care of while they work toward a safe future. Working with a Domestic Violence Counselor, they will be able to enter one of the two safe houses which, unfortunately, cannot accept pets.
How You Can Help
OPIN will coordinate the foster home and provide medical care and food and supplies if necessary. But it goes without saying that without foster homes, this exciting opportunity to reach out to the community cannot exist.
If you'd like to join OPIN's SafePet foster network to provide a temporary safe place for the loving pets of the victims of domestic violence, submit a SafePet Foster Application. Upon approval, we'll add you to our network of homes and Jeanne Blandford, Program Coordinator, will contact you to review the program in detail.
How the Program Works
- Victims will be asked to fill out paperwork prior to OPIN accepting their pet(s). One of the documents is a profile about each pet so the foster home knows a little about him or her before the pet comes into the home.
- Our Coordinator will match a suitable foster home for each pet the victim may have.
- Our Coordinator will be the liaison with the DVCC counselor to ensure anonymity of clients.
- A pet will go to the vet for a brief checkup, receive any necessary vaccines, micro-chipping, or spay/neuter procedures, then go on to his or her foster home.
- Foster homes will sign a foster agreement with OPIN.
- OPIN's Coordinator and the DVCC counselor will speak on a weekly basis to exchange updates on the status of the pet in the foster home, and the status of the victim's progress toward gaining a stable life of his/her own.
- The maximum length of stay as per our agreement with the victim is 60 days. Historically, the average length of stay in a safe house is 35 days.
This is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to those in need, both human victims and those they deeply care about, the companion animals who have found a place in their hearts.
We hope you will share in our vision and support our efforts by becoming a Domestic Violence Fosterer today. Together we can make a difference.
In the Press
"All in the Family: Keeping women and their pets together through the crisis of domestic violence," Best Friends Animal Society, June 2010