Bay Area group helps with pets of abuse victims
Deciding to leave an abusive relationship is hard, said Leigh Ann Fry, president and CEO of Bay Area Turning Point, but the situation can often become even more complicated when pets are involved.
Bay Area Turning Point, a nonprofit group that provides shelter for victims of domestic or sexual abuse and their children, has expanded to help with their pets, making it easier on someone trying to get out of a violent or otherwise dangerous situation.
“We find that many times, one of the barriers an abusive partner tries to put up to keep someone from leaving is threatening to harm that victim’s pet so the person trying to leave doesn’t feel the pet is safe leaving them with the abuser,” she said. “In many cases, that abuser has harmed the pet before. So, the owner knows that this is not just a threat. This is what our Safe Paws program is about.”
The group now works with the city of Webster and its animal shelter to house pets of abuse victims until the owners can get back on their feet. If the shelter is full, the group works to find foster care for the animals, who are returned to their owners after necessary steps have been taken — whether that’s finding another living situation or filing a protective order that keeps abuser safely away.
“It’s just a way of providing people seeking shelter one less thing to worry about — one less barrier to safety,” Fry said.
Bay Area Turning Point can house 72 people, but the services extend beyond those who stay at the facility.
“A lot of times, victims can safely stay in their home,” Fry said. “Either their abuser has been arrested or there’s a protective order in place and the home is a safe place for them and their children, but they still might need access to services we offer, such as counseling services, filing a protective order or help finding a job. We always want people to know that they don’t have to be staying here to get help.”
Because the program relies heavily on volunteers and grants, Fry said the community can help by either volunteering time, donating money or watching the group’s Facebook page for items it might need to be donated.
For more information, call 281-338-7600 or message Contactus@bayareaturningpoint.com.