ROCK FALLS – Here’s a heartbreaking statistic: According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly half the victims of domestic abuse won’t leave their abuser out of fear of what might happen to the pets they leave behind.
With that in mind, the YWCA of the Sauk Valley, Whiteside County Animal Control, and Happy Tails Humane Society are launching Project Safe Haven, which allows people fleeing abusive situations to have a safe place to house theirs pet while they seek shelter for themselves.
If police are involved in a domestic call, they will take the animals into custody and get them to a shelter. Fleeing victims who take their pets with them can work with the YWCA to arrange shelter.
Happy Tails’ veterinarian will check the animals for health issues, give them any vaccinations or flea treatments that might be if needed, and once cleared, they will be housed at either Happy Tails or Animal Control, under strictly anonymous conditions – information on whether they are being housed and where will not be released to anyone – and free of charge or at greatly reduced fees, depending on the situation.
No matter what, if you are in an abusive situation, seek help.
The YWCA of the Sauk Valley provides shelter, counseling and other resources for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence from its offices at 412 First Ave. in Sterling, and 98 S. Galena Ave. in Dixon.
The 24-hour hotline numbers are 815-626-7277 and 815-288-1011.
Go to ywsauk.org or call 815-625-0333 to donate, volunteer or for more information.
Happy Tails Humane Society, 1408 McNeil Road in Rock Falls, is a limited intake, no-kill shelter and veterinarian clinic. Call 815-626-2994, go to happytailsanimalshelter.org or find it on Facebook, also to donate, volunteer or for more information.
Animal Control also accepts donations for its adoption center at the office at 1701 Industrial Park Road in Rock Falls. Call 815-625-3507, go to www.whitesidehealth.org/departments/animal-control.html or find Whiteside County Animal Control Adoption Center on Facebook to learn more.