Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 287–298 | Cite as

Fleeing with Fido: an Analysis of What Canadian Domestic Violence Shelters Are Communicating Via their Websites about Leaving an Abusive Relationship when Pets Are Involved

  • Allison GrayEmail author
  • Betty Jo Barrett
  • Amy Fitzgerald
  • Amy Peirone
Original Article


In response to the growing body of empirical research demonstrating a substantial co-occurrence of intimate partner violence (IPV) and animal abuse, domestic violence shelters are increasingly offering on- or off-site services to care for the pets of abused women accessing shelter services. This paper analyzes all public websites of first-stage shelters in Canada (n = 337) to offer the first examination of what these shelters are communicating about this co-occurrence of abuse and an appraisal of what services are available to survivors with pets. The findings indicate that less than half of the websites mention pets, and only 1% of shelters report offering on-site pet programs. There are significant relationships between websites addressing the role of pets in both safety planning and help-seeking among abused women and the provision of pet shelter services. The paper concludes with suggestions for pet-related information on domestic violence shelter websites in Canada and elsewhere.


Intimate partner violence Animal abuse Domestic violence shelters Pets Co-occurring violence 



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allison Gray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Betty Jo Barrett
    • 2
  • Amy Fitzgerald
    • 3
  • Amy Peirone
    • 1
  1. 1.Sociology, Anthropology, & CriminologyUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  2. 2.Women’s and Gender StudiesUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  3. 3.Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminology, Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER)University of WindsorWindsorCanada

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