Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims

Lab puppyDid you know that pets, like humans, can become victims of domestic abuse? A 1995 survey of seventy-two women seeking refuge in domestic violence shelters in Wisconsin found that 86% of the women had pets and in 80% of those cases the batterer had abused the pets. Three separate studies have documented that from 18% to 40% of victims seeking shelter at a crisis center reported concern for the welfare of their pet prevented them from seeking shelter sooner, in some cases for more than two months.

The Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims Program (“SAAV Program”) is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides confidential temporary shelter for the animals of domestic abuse victims attempting to leave an abusive relationship. Through a partnership with Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (“DAIS”) and the Dane County Humane Society (“DCHS”), the SAAV Program provides sheltering services to victims in Dane County. The SAAV Program also raises community awareness nationwide about the link between domestic abuse and animal cruelty.

If you are interested in opening your home to an animal affected by domestic abuse by becoming a foster parent for the SAAV Program or volunteering in some other capacity, please contact us at If you are interested in more information about domestic violence and animal cruelty, please visit us at www., or join our mission on Facebook. All intake for the SAAV Program takes place through DAIS. If you are a domestic abuse victim in Dane County interested in using the SAAV Program, please call the DAIS 24-hour crisis line at 608-251-4445, or, 800- 747-4045.