Harbor House Opening its Doors to Pets of Domestic Violence Survivors

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A woman at ease in the paws of her beloved pooch

The Harbor House of Central Florida is making strides in helping to protect victims of domestic with the opening of their new facility – a 1500 square foot kennel where survivors can bring their dogs to safety.

All too often, many victims refuse to leave an abusive situation because of their pets.

“We don’t want them to hesitate. We don’t want them to say, ‘Yes, but I have to look in the eyes of my beloved pet and say you can’t come with me,’ ” said Wick.

While it may seem crazy to some, victims have every right to worry about their beloved pooches. Many abusers take to pet abuse as a way to retaliate against the victim if they leave, or threaten to hurt the pet to maintain control. For a large percentage of survivors who have left, 57% of them have had their pet killed by the abuser.

The facility is a state-of-the-art center that will include an exam room, grooming area and enough space for 20 to 40 animals at one time. Dogs will be able to enjoy three separate dog runs and a shared open space.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Harbor House CEO Carol Wick. “I just have to tell you that this is one of the most exciting moments for us.”

Owners will be responsible for caring for their pets; however, volunteers will assist in keep the kennel well maintained. Visiting veterinarians will be available to help care for the animals.

Survivors and residents staying at the Harbor House will have special access so that they can visit their beloved pet whenever they would like.

The facility welcomes dogs and cats as well as other pets such as birds, hamsters and ferrets.