Shelters Moving Toward Accepting Pets

In 2011 a woman came to the door of the Rose Brooks Center in Kansas City seeking refuge from her boyfriend, a man who repeatedly beat and terrorized her. Earlier in the evening the man had beaten her with a hammer and may have killed her but her Great Dane put himself between the woman and her attacker. The man then threw both the woman and the dog out a second story window to the ground below.

J. Matthew, the dog that sparked a policy change.

The woman, who remains unidentified, had finally realized she needed protection for herself and her four-legged savior, named J. Matthew. But while there was room for her at the shelter there was no place for her companion.

“I told her thanks but I was going to a rest stop,” the woman said. She refused to stay at the shelter without her dog, fearing for his life.

So with the woman about to spend the night in an untenable situation Susan Miller, the executive director of the Rose Brooks Center relented and allowed both the woman and her rescuer.

“She was not going to leave her pet alone with him,” Miller said. “He saved her life.”

The dog was seriously injured with a broken hip, ribs and other broken bones and the woman was not about to leave him alone and vulnerable.

As many forty percent of abused women will not leave their pets and so will live in their cars, with friends or simply endure the violent situation. Abusive husbands and boyfriends will often use the pets as leverage, threatening harm if the woman leaves or speaks about her suffering.

Realizing how much a difference it makes in the lives of abuse-escapees, now the Rose Brooks Center is now in the process of adding seven kennels, and expanding the shelter to accommodate another 25 beds. The new kennel is dedicated to the woman and her dog and now will be a haven for both families and the animals that they love.

“To know that a woman will no longer have to make that choice, that they will either have to get safe or they will have to abandon their pet, is worth everything,” Miller says.

Staying with an abusive partner for the sake of children or pets is a difficult and sometimes even deadly choice. If you face domestic abuse there are solutions. Finding safe shelter is paramount and thankfully now there are more resources for you, your children and your family pet. Once you’re safe it’s time to remove yourself from the situation permanently. The attorneys at Fletcher, Rohrbaugh and Chahine can help to protect you and your family from a violent living situation. We can secure an order of protection, begin divorce proceedings and initiate child custody or need of care protection. Don’t wait. If you feel you are in danger, the time to act is now.

Why Should You Serve On A Jury?

If you’ve ever been called for jury duty your first reaction was probably, “Oh, no. Great, like I have time for this.” Or something close to that. But if you stop and think about it for a minute, you might realize that this is an opportunity to participate in our democracy. Just like with voting, we should appreciate a country that lets its people decide.

The judicial system in the US decides if an individual or organization needs a courts driven decision. It is crafted so that the most common way in which this is determined is by a jury of “peers” otherwise know as other Americans. The people will make a determination of based on evidence presented and how they will interpret this evidence. This is an extremely important element as to how our society functions.

This might sounds meaningless when you’re called to decide if a homeowner’s tree is on his neighbor’s lawn but it does matter. If you were to put yourself in the homeowner’s shoes (or even the neighbor’s) you would want a trial attended by people who listen and then return a fair verdict, right? Jury service is also for civil cases, not just criminal.  It is to resolve disputes over contracts, personal injury, property rights or mental health commitments.

Serving on a jury can also be very interesting and educational. You’ll literally see our democracy in action and your place in it. No, it most likely won’t look and sound like an episode of “Law and Order” but it will give you a better understanding of the law and how it applies to everyday life. You’ll undoubtedly learn something you didn’t know.

Most jury service is brief, a few days are the norm, but it’s worth spending the time to see something you don’t often get to see. It can bring you closer to how our community functions, gives you an opportunity to help someone who has prevailed on the justice system and needs your help. Avoiding it because you’re busy or think it’s a waste of time is missing the point. Look at other countries where the people’s voice is seldom heard and you’ll get the idea.

So if you’re summoned and sitting next to another juror who is complaining, just be brave and tell them you’re looking forward to it. Tell them you plan to listen carefully, make your decision based on evidence and the law, and give both sides a fair chance. See if you can get them to go along with you.

At Fletcher, Rohrbaugh and Chahine we believe in representing our clients in the best possible way and that means educating them about all aspects of their rights. Working in partnership with them we guide and advise them, counsel them and work with them for the best possible outcome. If you have a legal question, problem or need legal help we’re just a phone call away.