The SPCA of Westchester in Briarcliff Manor announced Wednesday that it has received a grant from The Rachael Ray Foundation to expand the SPCA’s Pet Safety Program, created to help pets of domestic violence victims while their owners seek safe housing.
“The SPCA is incredibly grateful to receive the generous support of The Rachael Ray Foundation, who has awarded our organization with a grant of $25,000 for our Pet Safety Program,” said Shannon Laukhuf, SPCA executive director. “This funding will allow us to expand our partnership with domestic violence agencies in Westchester and provide a safe alternative for victims of domestic violence who need to protect their companion animals. It couldn’t have come at a better time with domestic violence cases sadly on the rise during quarantine.”
Since 2008, the SPCA of Westchester and My Sisters’ Place, a domestic violence agency in Yonkers, have been working together to make it possible for victims to leave their abusers, knowing their pets will also be placed in a safe setting. Victims often will remain in an abusive situation to protect their beloved pets when they cannot find a domestic violence shelter that will allow animals in.
Funding from The Rachael Ray Foundation will also help pay for medical costs associated with animals who are often victims themselves.
“During the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeing victims more isolated at home than before, and the severity of assaults has increased by as much as 30 percent,” said Karen Cheeks-Lomax, CEO of My Sisters’ Place. For these reasons, the Pet Safety Program is needed now more than ever.”
The SPCA places victims’ pets with confidential foster families during an owners’ stay at a domestic violence shelter.
For more information on The Pet Safety Program and the SPCA of Westchester’s other programs and services, visit www.spca914.org.