Assistance for Domestic Violence Victims
In January 2020, C.A.R.E.4Paws is launching a Santa Barbara Countywide program to assist victims of family violence and their companion animals. We're doing so in collaboration with several animal welfare partners and social welfare agencies, including Domestic Violence Solutions. C.A.R.E.4Paws helps facilitate free, safe and anonymous refuge for animals so that an owner can leave an abusive partner without fearing for the safety and well-being of a family pet. Our goal is to reduce suffering and reunite animals with their owners when the time is right.
Do you need help?
Domestic Violence Solutions
24-Hour Crisis & Information Hotlines
Santa Barbara: (805) 964-5245
Santa Maria: (805) 925-2160
Santa Ynez: (805) 686-4390
Lompoc: (805) 736-0965
CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation)
Santa Barbara: (805) 965-2376
Santa Maria: (805) 614-9160
Lompoc: (805) 741-7460
District Attorney's Office Victim-Witness Assistance Program
Santa Barbara: (805) 568-2400
Santa Maria: (805) 346-7529
Lompoc: (805) 737-7910
National Domestic Violence Hotline
How our program works
C.A.R.E.4Paws provides immediate, temporary sheltering for animals through loving foster families and boarding partners so that an owner can leave an abusive partner without fearing for the safety and well-being of a pet. Our program is free and anonymous and our goal is to reunite animals with their owners when the time is right. All pets receive a wellness exam and medical treatment, if necessary, when they enter the program. Depending on an animal's individual needs, the pet will also have access to services such as free spays/neuters, vaccines, dental cleanings as well as animal behavior training during their time with us.
How to access our services
C.A.R.E.4Paws will take in pets from owners who are working with local referral agencies, such as those listed above.
Why our program is critical
Every minute of every day, 20 people are abused by an intimate partner in the United States, reports the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Pets are often used as “pawns” in domestic violence situations. Abusers will harm a family pet and/or make threats to hurt or kill a pet to keep family members from speaking up or leaving the abusive relationship. In surveys of women entering domestic violence shelters, as many as 85% reported that their pets had been threatened, injured, or killed by their partners.
Most local domestic violence shelters are not able to accept pets (unless the pet is a registered service animal), which means that many pet owners stay with their abusive partners as they do not want to leave their animals behind.
Up to 65% of family violence victims stay in or delay leaving an abusive home out of fear something will happen to the animal when they are gone. Studies show that women stay an average of two years longer in a violent situation when family pets are involved.
About animal abuse
Every 10 seconds, an animal is abused. Sadly, most cruelty cases are never reported, which means these crimes go unnoticed and unpunished, and the animals continue to suffer. What's worse, a pet is usually an abuser's first victim. There’s a proven link between animal abuse and family violence.
Also, children who witness cruelty to animals and other family members are five times more likely to become abusers and commit violent crimes.
There's no excuse for abuse! Together, we can break the cycle of violence.