Safe Housing Program

Started in 2002 to address the link between domestic violence and animal abuse

It is an unfortunate fact that domestic violence and animal abuse often coincide. Sometimes, these occur simultaneously and in some instances, 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.

Expanded in 2010 to address crisis in its many forms and serve more people and pets in need

The Safe Housing Program serves the animal companions of people seeking assistance or receiving aid from local social service organizations. This program is designed to enable people to get the assistance they need in a crisis situation without worrying about the care of their pets.

Clients of this program must be in touch with one of our partner agencies, either already enrolled or utilizing the services or in the preliminary stages of getting the services. Clients must have an advocate from the partner agency contact Heartland Humane Society on their behalf. Client advocates act as an additional contact throughout the process, allowing Heartland Humane Society to relay information while maintaining confidentiality.

Safe Housing Program serves clients of:

Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV)
Community Outreach Inc. (COI)
Mario Pastega House
Samaritan Regional Medical Center
Benton County Department of Human Services
Benton County Mental Health
American Red Cross – natural disasters

Safe Housing Program Procedure

Clients make contact with the partner agency and express their need for Safe Housing services. The partner agency advocate contacts Heartland Humane on the client’s behalf to confirm their enrollment in programs or services. The client or advocate will then bring the pet to the shelter at a time agreed upon with shelter staff. Clients will 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 during shelter open hours and when they have received the services they need through the partner agency their pet is returned to them. The standard term of care for animals in this program is 30 days.