What are safe havens?
Safe havens are sheltering services available in an area that assist individuals experiencing domestic violence with placing their companion animals out of harm's way so that they may seek safety for themselves. The safe havens directory was established by AWI in 2011 to help people find these facilities.
Safe havens operate differently from community to community. Some rely on networks of foster care homes or are allowed to use the additional kennel space of a local humane society or veterinarian. In some cases, domestic violence shelters house victims and pets together, while some house only the pets on-site. They can be independent nonprofit organizations or formal partnerships between domestic violence agencies and animal agencies or groups. Depending on the local arrangement, family members may be able to visit their pets while they are in safe-keeping. How long a pet may stay in a safe haven again will depend on the local arrangement—some stays are much shorter than others. Confidentiality of the pet’s location is highly guarded in order to protect the pets and their family members.
Where are they?
Until AWI established the Safe Havens Mapping Project in 2011, there were only partial listings of safe havens for pets. The Safe Havens Mapping Project addressed this gap with the development of an integrated, comprehensive state-by-state listing of sheltering services for the animals of those experiencing domestic violence. The entities included in the listing, which is subject to ongoing refinement and updating, either provide sheltering services for the animals of domestic violence victims, have a relationship with an entity that does, or provide referrals to such facilities.