DVIS’ New Kennel

posted March 14th, 2015 by
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DVIS

DVIS’ New Kennel Brings Shelter To Four-Legged Family Members Making The Transition To An Abuse-Free Life A Little Easier.

 

By Rachel Weaver

 

After 11 years of an abusive marriage Taylor* decided to leave her husband. She sought a protective order with the help of advocates from Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS/Call Rape) and learned about transitional housing DVIS offered. She and her son, Nathan* applied to the program and soon moved into their own apartment.

Taylor’s story differs slightly from others in similar situations. Taylor and Nathan have a mixed breed dog named Rigby* and they were able to bring him with them to DVIS’ transitional housing. But for many, this isn’t a reality.

Up to 65 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned for their pets, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. For those who do leave, 71 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control them.

Thanks to DVIS’ new emergency kennel opening in January 2015, domestic abuse victims will have a place to house their pets in safety. The 80-bed facility will be the first domestic violence shelter in Oklahoma to have a kennel.

“Often women entering a shelter have little to no income, so boarding their pet is not an option,” said Tracey Lyall, DVIS executive director. “The kennel will offer comfort to individuals who need safe shelter but don’t want to leave their family pet behind.”

Now that victims will have a place to house their pets, Taylor said she thinks it will help many women and men stay out of abusive relationships.

“They’re afraid the abuser is going to abuse the pet, and they don’t have a place to put them, and they don’t want to leave them because they’re like family,” she said. “I think it’ll help them deal with the abuse and give them that familiarity of [the shelter] being like home.”

DVIS’ Kennel

The kennel will be able to house seven dogs and cats at a time and will have a 200-square-foot air conditioned and heated interior and 180-square-foot covered exterior space. There will also be a 1,773-square-foot outside fenced dog run.

Some families arrive at the DVIS shelter in the middle of the night with only the clothes they are wearing, so most pets arriving at the shelter will also need food dishes, a leash, litter box and food. A staff member will provide intake services and give new pets needed accessories such as a leash, food bowls and toys.

If someone needs shelter and has a dog or a cat, a staff member will complete a pet intake form to help DVIS better care for the individual and the pet while they reside at the shelter. The resident will also fill out a pet shelter agreement, saying she or he will be responsible for the pet.

For a dog or cat to move into the kennel, he or she must have a current rabies vaccination. If pets aren’t current on vaccinations, a staff member will assist the owner in finding a veterinarian to provide this service.

While living in the shelter, pet owners will still be the primary caregiver for their pets— feeding, grooming and cleaning up after it and making sure it is healthy and adjusting to the shelter kennel. Staff will also help make sure all animals in the kennel are safe and well cared for.

“There’s no limit on how long the pet can stay as long as his/her owner is living at the shelter,” Lyall said. “Being separated is emotionally harmful for pets and their family. Keeping pets and their family together eases the stress of both the family members and   their pet.”

For Taylor, taking Rigby was the only option. Nathan had become very attached to him, and she was afraid her husband would hurt Rigby if they left him.

“The dog was a part of our family, and we couldn’t leave him behind,” she said.  “It was really, really important emotionally for my son because of the trauma he went through.”

Rigby helps Nathan feel safe and comfortable and also offers companionship for Taylor.

“He helps make the house feel like a home,” she said. “It’s good to have someone there that helps you know everything is going to be OK.”

How you can help

If you’re interested in helping the kennel, here are three ways to do so:

Veterinarians

“We’d love to have veterinarians volunteer to provide services to help ensure the health and safety of the animals during their stay,” Lyall said.

If you think your vet would be interested in helping, you can find a sample request letter at dvis.org/dvis-kennel/. Veterinarians will be needed to provide the following services:

Free immunizations

No-cost spay or neuter services

Free flea and tick treatment

Free surgery

Answering questions about pet health

Free or reduced rate for boarding when the kennel is full

Sample dog/cat food or treat donations

Talk about the kennel—give DVIS’ contact information to a colleague who might like   to help.

Host a can food drive at your clinic—ask staff and clients to bring an item for a pet in the kennel.

Be on call for veterinary emergencies

Volunteers

Kennel volunteers will be needed starting in January 2015. Volunteers will help provide additional exercise and care for the animals as well as some light cleaning. DVIS staff members will familiarize volunteers and new residents and their children on the operation of the kennel.

Interested volunteers can contact:

Paula Fox, DVIS volunteer coordinator, at

(918) 508-2706.

 

Kennel needs

New in-kind items will be utilized to support the operation of the kennel. Needed items include:

Dog and cat food  Collars

Cat litter, Leashes, Litter boxes, Scratching posts, Toys and chews, Carrier bags, Treats, Crates

Donated items can be dropped off at 4300 S. Harvard. To learn more about how you can help, visit dvis.org or call (918) 508-2709.

‘Mutt Strut’ Pet Walk

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and DVIS will be raising awareness for its kennel. They’ll be collecting new in-kind items for the kennel throughout Tulsa (visit dvis.org for more information).

On Saturday, Oct. 18, at 9 a.m., DVIS is hosting a leashed dog walk, “Mutt Strut,” at Hunter Park (5804 E. 91st St.). Entry is an in-kind donation to the kennel. Dress  your dog in its finest costume, and he or she may be crowned “king” or “queen” for best costume. If you’re game, dress in an accompanying costume to vie for the title of “best duo.”

After the walk, dogs (and owners) can participate in free doga, dog yoga. For more information, call (918) 508-2711.

Kennel Support

On July 31, 2014, DVIS received its first check toward the construction of the kennel from PetSmart.

 

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

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