September 6th, 2018
We recently shared the story of Louie, a beautiful Siamese cat who we believe was a victim of domestic abuse. According to reports, Louie was intentionally locked in a room with no food or water for three days, as a way for the abuser(s) to display power or control over others. By the time Louie’s human “siblings” discovered him, he was very sick.
We did everything we could to help him pull through. His family – a loving mom and her four teenage kids, who had found Louie – were all hoping for the best, and so were we. If you got our original email, I’m sure you were rooting for Louie, too, and maybe even donated to our RedRover Relief fund to help pay for the costs of his treatment. But sadly, after an initial positive prognosis, Louie took a turn for the worse and passed away while in the ICU.
Louie’s story touched so many of us, not only because of the heartbreaking photo of his jaundiced green eyes and the unthinkable act that reportedly caused his condition…but because Louie is one of so many animals affected by domestic abuse.
Thanks to all the caring people who wanted to make a difference for Louie, we raised enough money to cover the entire cost of Louie’s veterinary bill, so his family wouldn’t have to worry about the expense in such a sorrowful time. We’re also grateful that the family’s two other cats, Zephyr and Simba, were successfully rescued from the threatening situation and will never have to worry about abuse again.
After sharing Louie’s story, we were blown away by the number of supporters who reached out to express their condolences and support for the work we are doing. It means so much to us, as well as to Louie’s family, and helps fuel all the work we are doing to prevent this kind of abuse from happening.
We have also heard supporters’ personal stories of pets who were harmed in domestic violence situations, reminding us that many people are unaware of the pervasiveness and nuances of this issue, especially when it comes to psychological abuse and the use of pets as a manipulative threat to keep victims from leaving or to exhibit power or control over them in other ways. Challenges with the legal system, difficulties proving intentionality or abuse when it is psychological, and concern for victim safety often make it difficult to share stories or prosecute abusers. Plus, many survivors of abuse find it devastating to finally escape the abuse and then be met with disbelief from even their closest friends and relatives. If you have a story involving domestic violence and pets that you could share publicly to increase awareness of the issue, we are here to listen. Please contact us.
A study showed that 71% of women who entered domestic violence shelters and had pets reported their abuser had injured, killed, threatened or used their pets in some way as part of the abusive control and manipulation. The issues involved in domestic violence are complex, but there is one thing we can do to remove a major barrier to escape: help domestic violence shelters house all family members involved in abusive situations, including pets. The next deadline for our Safe Housing grants that help shelters do just that is October 15th.
We are committed to ensuring that no animal has to endure abuse of any kind. If you feel as passionate about this issue as we do, there are more ways to help. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Please join our #PetsAreFamily campaign to spread awareness about domestic violence and pets, and find out more about how you can make a difference at redrover.org/DVAM.
Thank you for your compassion and dedication to animals like Louie who deserve a safe, happy life free from violence and harm.