How to Create Safe Spaces for Animals and Humans

Last week we talked about some of the ways domestic abuse relates to animal wellness, and how you can help families and pets in abusive situations.

We covered some information about a program called Sheltering Animals & Families Together™ or SAF-T, that is making huge strides in helping people leave abusive relationships.

28699296_lFor many people, having access to a safe space that their pets can also consider a safe space can be a very important deciding factor in their ability to escape.

That’s why today, on the eve of the fifth annual National SAF-T Day, we’ll outline the considerations and resources that would allow a domestic violence shelter to become ready to house pets.

Regardless of your level of involvement in an abusive relationship, (even if you know no survivors personally), please pass along this information to shelters near you. It can help keep families together and provide people with a sense of security that is vital in any safe space.

Shelters should consider:

• Space – Where will the animals be housed? What will we need to install?

• Supplies – How much funding will we need to provide the shelter, toys and food necessary?

• Non-pet owning families’ needs – What if we have allergic residents?

• Emergency procedures – Will there be a vet on staff?

• On-site staff capabilities – Will our staff members be able to perform necessary tasks? We will need to hire?

• Training – How will we address safety?

• Legalities – What about insurance? What partnerships are required?

Because there are so many facets of restructuring a shelter to consider, it’s important that those interested in beginning the process have access to the appropriate resources.  SAF-T’s manual can help identify requirements and needs.

SAF-T outlines three housing styles as options for sheltering both humans and animals. Whether the shelter wants to move toward housing residents and pets in the same room, housing pets in an indoor kennel, or housing pets in an outdoor kennel, there are certain procedures that will need to be followed.

SAF-T forms are available for download. With the help of organizations like RedRover, and the assistance of SAF-T professionals, any shelter has the potential to become a friendly, safe space for both humans and their pets.

If you or someone you know is being abused and would like their pets to be sheltered where the family is sheltered, please ask them to consult this list to find an animal-friendly shelter nearby.