GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and one local organization is working to help the victims of domestic violence and their pets.
According to Hidden Paws Network Founder Joshua Jablonski, the organization has helped about 1,827 pets over the past two years.
The organization finds foster homes for the pets of people who need to stay in domestic violence shelters.
“They call us,” Jablonski explained. “We come pick up the animal, we foster through one of our fosters while they go through their program at the battered persons’ shelter.”
The network began because most domestic violence shelters don’t allow pets.
“They either have to risk staying in the situation, which 69 percent report they wouldn’t want to leave, they hesitate to leave because the pet might be injured in the process,” Jablonski said.
Pet care while leaving a dangerous home situation was a missing link.
“There’s programs for children, there’s programs for people, but not a lot of people think about the pets,” Jablonski said.
Right now, the network consists of about 10 to 15 fosters.
Hidden Paws provides all supplies needed to care for the temporarily re-homed pets.
“We’re in desperate need of cat litter, dried dog food, large bags of it, and monetary donations,” Jablonski told Local 5.
He explained that the coronavirus pandemic caused Hidden Paws to cancel many of their fundraisers this year.
“So the only thing that we can really do fundraising with is our mask sales, our pet costume sales, and things that people make for us that we can try to sell,” he said.
They’re doing what they can to raise money to continue their work.
“People treat their pets like family, and that’s what they are, and to completely abandon that animal is just something that a lot of people aren’t willing to,” Jablonski said.
Thanks to Hidden Paws, they don’t have to.