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9 pigs rescued from domestic violence situation need homes; highlights need for victims, their pets

Data shows 71% of women report their abuser threatened, injured, or killed their pet and nearly half of victims stay in bad situations rather than leave their pets.

SEATTLE — Nine pigs are now in the care of Pasado Safe Haven after their owner had to flee a domestic violence situation.

“They were her pets and she obviously loved them and they obviously have been loved. They're very social, very friendly,” said the director of Animal Cruelty Investigations and Rescue Operations at Pasado Safe Haven.

The owner was in a dire situation, needing a safe place to go, but finding a place for nine pigs was challenging.

“Over the time of her violent relationship, her boyfriend killed one of them, also broke out windows, spray painted her home, physically abused her and her kid,” the case investigator said.

She called numerous rescues before someone gave her contact for Pasado Safe Haven. The rescue typically takes animals from law enforcement animal cruelty cases, but when they have the room, they make it a priority.

“We were trying to hurry as much as we could once we realized we could take them. I would say at least 50% of my cases involve a domestic violence element. We have taken on horses, dogs over the years, chickens, and lots of different kinds of animals through these cases to help the person get out and get safe,” the investigator said.

Nationwide data shows 71% of women in domestic violence shelters report their abuser threatened, injured, or killed their pet and nearly half of victims stay in abusive situations rather than leave their pets behind.

“There definitely is a shift happening where, as a movement, domestic violence advocates and domestic violence programs really recognize how significant this is,” said Elizabeth Montoya with Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Montoya said the state has been working for the past decade to provide shelters that allow pets. 

While it can still be difficult to find emergency shelters in some areas, many in the state now allow pets and emotional support animals.

Victim advocates can also help someone get a protective order, which includes their pet, and if granted, gives them legal possession of the animal.

If there’s no shelter option, local rescues like Seattle Humane step in with temporary help.

“We have a SPOT temporary foster program where we utilize foster parents that are already in our existing network. You can go take your pet to them, and they will hold on to them for a 90-day period,” said Brandon Macz, PR and social media specialist with Seattle Humane.

The SPOT program started in 2020 and the rescue also has a pet owner assistance fund that can help.

“If you are fleeing a domestic violence situation, we can help you out with things like finding a hotel that you can put your dogs and yourself up into until you're able to find more stable housing,” Macz said.

As for the pigs back at Pasado's, their owner is now in a safe place and they will be available for adoption next week.

“Overall, they're in very good physical condition. They're extremely social, familiar with dogs, kids, adults, and very sweet pigs. We just want to get these animals in their forever best home. I can say for her that she was so hopeful that they would get the homes that they deserved,” Pasado’s case investigator said.

If you are in need of a domestic violence shelter that allows pets, go to Safe Havens Mapping Project's website and you can search by zip code and state.

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