Humanitarian Boarding for Pets
Research shows that women living with abusive partners won’t leave if they can’t take their pets with them.
But, for a victim of domestic violence, finding someone to take in a loyal companion while she tries to leave
her situation and rebuild her life can be a challenge. A woman may have become so isolated from friends
and family that she has no one to turn to, and boarding can be prohibitively expensive. She knows that
leaving her pet behind can put the companion animal in harm’s way, and it can also give her abuser leverage
over her, even as she tries to escape the difficult situation.
The Lincoln County Humane Society (LCHS) hears stories like this on a near daily basis. That’s why the
St. Catharines-based shelter reached out to the Niagara Community Foundation for a community grant
to offer humanitarian boarding for pets, with the intention of making it easier for women to leave abusive
The $4,000 granted by the Foundation in 2017 provided lodging for seven dogs and five cats for up to 20
nights. That helped ease at least one worry for eight women who made the brave decision to rebuild their
“We asked for the grant to see how well-received it would be and it was really well-received,” says Michelle
Harder, director of outreach and resource development at the LCHS. “This was something we could do so
there was one less challenge these women had to face.”