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.