Emergency and Safe Housing Program
It is an unfortunate fact that domestic violence and animal abuse often coincide. Sometimes, these occur simultaneously and in some instances the animal abuse is the method of spousal control and violence. As difficult as it is for a person to leave a violent relationship and enter a shelter, the decision can be made more painful when a beloved pet is left behind. Some people will choose to stay with the abuser and the pet rather than seek necessary shelter.
Similarly, people who have lost their homes may choose to stay in a car or on the streets because they are unable to keep their pets otherwise. At the Mario Pastega House, some people have declined services and delayed medical treatment because they did not have care for their pets. Others drove hours each day to continue caring for their pets.
Owners sign a contract with Heartland so their pets can be cared for and receive necessary vaccinations and veterinary care while the owner receives services from partner programs. Owners can visit their pets daily and when they are back on their feet the pet is returned to them. The typical term of service through this program is one month.