New help for domestic violence victims & their pets | Michigan Radio
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New help for domestic violence victims & their pets

Jan 13, 2019

Paisley often greets visitors at the Bay Area Women's Center in Bay City
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Advocates for victims of domestic violence say a new federal law will help Michigan women looking for help for themselves and their pets.

The Pet and Women Safety, or PAWS Act, was signed into law in December. It allocates funds to domestic violence shelters and expands protections to include survivors’ pets.

Studies have found a quarter to a third of domestic violence victims delay leaving their abuser out of fear for their pets.

Jeremy Rick is the executive director of the Bay Area Women’s Center.

He says providing help placing pets will encourage women to seek help themselves.

“Nobody should have to make the choice between staying in a relationship where there is violence and leaving… a pet behind,” says Rick.

Last week, Rick gave a tour of his shelter to U.S. Senator Gary Peters who sponsored of the PAWS Act. 

Peters says less than one percent of domestic violence shelters provide housing for pets.

“It’s very important for victims of abuse to know that there are now expanding programs,” says Peters.