Sheltering Animals and Families Together (SAF-T) Start-Up Manual


When domestic violence victims with pets consider fleeing abusive homes and there is no safe place to house their pets, they have little choice but: (1) to remain in their homes and subject themselves, their children and their pets to continued violence, (2) to flee with children and pets and become homeless, or (3) to flee and leave their pets behind. Because victims understand the extent of the harm that their abusers will likely inflict upon their pets, if left behind, many victims simply remain in violent relationships. Recognizing both the urgent need to protect domestic violence victims from further abuse and the comfort that pets provide people, especially in times of stress and trauma, these guidelines were launched in trainings in 2004 and subsequently in a national initiative in 2008 to guide domestic and family violence emergency housing shelters toward permitting residents to bring their pets with them. 

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