It is no secret that domestic violence is a monumental issue in the United States. Nearly 40 million women have experienced violence from a significant other, and thousands die because of it. The average woman will try to leave five to seven times before successfully escaping. On top of the gut-wrenching statistics about what women face with domestic violence, there is another overlooked statistic that makes escaping domestic violence even more difficult; pets.
On average, women will face 37 cases of abuse before leaving, but those with pets have an even harder time. More than half of women living with abusive partners who had pets delayed their leaving simply because they had no place to take their animals, or they feared for their pets safety. Animals in an abusive household are 11 times more likely to experience abuse, including horrific deaths. Reports of animals being thrown off of cliffs, placed in microwaves, or simply tortured to convince the victim to stay are all too common. Yet, there are only 7 urban shelters that allow women to bring their pets with them, leaving them to suffer at the hands of their abuser to protect their pets, or leave their animals with a monster.
One bright spot is the Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS) that is in Congress. The law would allow the Department of Agriculture to provide grants to shelters so they are able to accommodate pets. However, the bill has been sitting in committee since 2015, but it is still alive and could be signed in to law in the near future.
Pets are victims far too often, but they are also the greatest savior for many women. Amanda Tromp and her dog Kyro are perfect examples. Amanda credits Kyro with saving her life.
Tromp was 22 when she adopted Kryo. She began bottle feeding him when his mother couldn’t feed her pups, and she decided to take him home to live with her and her boyfriend. She describes herself as a “human punching bag,” enduring constant abuse, often violent abuse. For numerous reasons she stayed in the home until her boyfriend turned on Kyro. Once the violence spread to her dog, she fought to find a way to escape.
Now Amanda and Kyro document their time together, and helps to inspire discussion about domestic violence.
“If I didn’t have Kyro I wouldn’t have anyone. We really saved each other.”
Jamie Kraczkowski’s dog Isis watched his mom be abused, and also suffered abuse at the hands of Kraczkowski’s boyfriend. One night when Kraczkowski was thrown against a wall and injured, Isis stepped in. The boyfriend had smashed Kraczowski’s phone, leaving her hopeless. Isis latched onto her boyfriend, and prevented him from doing any more damage. After Isis stepped in, he took off. The rescue was heroic, but because of a pit bull ban in the town of Hazel Park, MI, Kraczkowski was told she had to remove Isis.
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Amazingly enough, the story went viral, and the city decided to lift the ban on pit bulls, allowing Jamie and Isis to stay together! And now that her ex is in jail, Kraczkowski and Isis can live without fear.
Sadly, most stories end in tragedy for both the animals and the women involved. Since Congress has yet to sign the PAWS bill into law, it is up to us to help provide shelter to women and animals in deadly situations.
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