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Heroic dog proves need for domestic abuse shelters to allow pets

When a Great Dane tried to protect its owner during a domestic abuse attack, it also made domestic violence shelters think more about allowing pets to accompany owners when they stay there.

The 110-pound dog saved its owners life when her boyfriend nearly beat her to death with a hammer last year, TODAY.com reports. Lying on top of her during the attack, the canine took many of the blows, suffering a broken hip and ribs. When she called the Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, they made an exception to also allow the dog to stay at their facility.

Now, the shelter has changed its policy to allow other pet owners to keep their animals when they leave abusive situations at home, the news outlet reports.

Susan Miller, CEO of the shelter, told the news outlet that the center has received countless calls from women who choose to stay in a dangerous home out of fear for their pets. Allowing the pets to come with them makes it easier to leave initially, and easier to cope once they arrive at the shelter.

"It became abundantly clear early on that the incredible therapeutic benefit pets could have on a family greatly outweighed the cost and inconvenience of housing them," Miller told the news outlet. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that there is a strong connection between animal abuse and domestic violence, and many times abusers will abuse family pets to demonstrate power over the family or isolate the victim and children. They may also do this to prevent the victim from leaving or coerce them to return.
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