Pet and Women Safety Act of 2017

March 3, 2017

A few weeks ago Congress did the right thing (I know, you’re shocked already) and re-introduced the Pet and Women Safety Act of 2017.  In the most general terms, this Act is designed to “protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence from emotional and psychological trauma caused by acts of violence or threats of violence against their pets.”

According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, or HABRI, only 3% of domestic violence shelters accommodate pets.  This Act would fund shelters to accommodate victims and their pets and to pay for pet care including accommodations (when shelters for both victims and pets are not available), veterinary care and even pet transportation.  The Act would ensure that funds were available to provide for 24 months of accommodations plus an additional 6 months if, notwithstanding a good faith effort, no permanent housing has been located.

This is, of course, a great step forward, and while we certainly wish there was never a need for this type of Act, we hope that Congress is able to complete action on this Act.  That said, as currently drafted the Act has certain limitations that may limit its effectiveness.   As many of you know, Pet Camp often provides care for pets at the request of the San Francisco non-profit community.  We have provided care for the pets of victims of domestic violence, those in hospitals, those facing the end of life, those undergoing rehabilitation as a condition of keeping subsidized housing and more.  In these circumstances Pet Camp is not compensated for this care, and the amount of care we can provide is limited by our ability to balance our charitable work with the need to run a for-profit business (with all the burdens that includes in San Francisco).   Unfortunately the Act is drafted in a manner that seems to envision only non-profits, specifically animal shelters and animal welfare organizations, assisting victims’ pets.  Not only does Pet Camp’s history of assisting others demonstrate that for-profit businesses also step up when called up, but the core mission of those non-profits is to provide that very care, and if funds are to be made available to enhance such care then for-profit businesses should be eligible for funding should they provide such care.

Are you willing to support the Pet and Women Safety Act of 2017?  Do you think pet care facilities like Pet Camp should be compensated when they provide care for the victims of violence or for others who are suffering through what life sometimes brings?

Thanks for reading.

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