Pet Advocacy

Pet Advocacy

Services Empowering Rights of Victims (SERV) offers a variety of services to those experiencing domestic violence. SERV advocates for pets, too! Sadly, pets can be targeted in the cycle of violence because they are vulnerable, they have a forgiving nature, and they cannot communicate abuse to others. Because pets are so loved by their families, they can also be used to manipulate survivors of domestic violence or in coercive strategies to gain the loyalties of children.

Pets, like their people, can be impacted by all types of domestic violence:
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Mental
Pets can have an extensive variety of responses to trauma, such as (but not limited to): destructive behaviors, frantic eating or loss of appetite, increased fear reactiveness, separation anxiety, self-harm, disobedience, and aggression. Pets can be directly harmed as a result of domestic violence, or they can be used as tools in a coercive pattern of behavior impacting the human victim.

Did you know...?

  • Only 12% of domestic violence programs offer pet-centered advocacy support, shelter options, etc.
  • 71% of survivors entering safehousing nationwide have reported that their perpetrator has harmed or threatened to harm a pet.
  • 65% of survivors reported that they had fears regarding a pet’s safety upon leaving the relationship.
  • 52% of survivors nationwide reported that pets were left with perpetrators when they fled.
  • For more information, check out this article from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
 
Advocacy & Housing
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence that involves a pet, call our confidential hotline to connect with a SERV advocate. You can also speak with us online by leaving a message in the chat feature (look for the box in the bottom right corner of this page).
 
For those wishing to leave a domestic violence situation, SERV advocates can help ensure pets are out of harm's way during the transition by incorporating them into a survivor's safety plan. We can connect individuals with resources to assist with veterinary and boarding costs to keep pets safe and accessible to survivors. Our advocates can also provide information regarding restraining orders and a survivor's legal rights.
 
SERV can provide advocacy and housing to domestic animals, such as:
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Rabbits
  • Turtles
  • Fish
  • Hamsters
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Birds
Contact our 24-hour hotline at 800-225-0196 if you need advocacy or if you would like more information on this growing project.
Volunteering

Do you love supporting pets? Are you passionate about empowering survivors? If so, volunteering directly with our pet advocacy project may be perfect for you! We are looking for volunteers interested in helping to transport pets to boarding facilities, veterinarians, or foster homes. However, that's not the only way to volunteer. We can also use assistance with fundraising, collecting supply donations, and more. If you want to help, click the link below to submit an interest form. If you have questions, send us an email at pets@centerffs.org and our team will be happy to give you more information.

Complete the Volunteer Interest Form

Pet Advocacy Workgroup (PAW)

If you want to learn more about empowering survivors and pets impacted by domestic violence, contact SERV to join the Pet Advocacy Workgroup (PAW). PAW is a coalition comprised of SERV advocates, community members, and pet professionals in South Jersey. The group meets regularly and focuses on supporting animals in need. Members of this group will spread awareness about violence involving pets and educate the community on the resources that are available to them. Specific member roles include:

  • Assist in the development of community outreach activities
  • Participate in public awareness presentations and outreach
  • Promote PAW at community meetings and events
  • Gather and relay information about outside resources
  • Attend and participate in meetings on a regular basis

Check the SERV event calendar for details on upcoming PAW meetings. Your time can make a difference in the lives of animals and the people who love them. Send an email to pets@centerffs.org to join PAW.

    Educational Trainings

    Our staff conducts free trainings for local service providers, law enforcement, community groups, and health care organizations to help people recognize the signs of domestic violence and work together in prevention efforts. To request a training for your organization or school, call 1-866-295-SERV (7378) or 1-800-225-0196 or complete the Presentation Request Form.