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Keeping Pets Safe From Violence in the Home

Humane Society of Southern Arizona

Animal cruelty is a felony in Arizona. Violence toward animals may be a sign of very serious problems in a househould.

If you are involved in a domestic violence situation, safety planning helps prepare you for potentially dangerous situations. Choose only the suggestions that make sense for you. Take extra precautions when weapons and drugs are present.

Keeping Pets Safe From Violence in the Home



  • If you know there have been direct threats to kill or harm your pet, try to remove your pet from danger. Is there a safe place for the pet to go during a violent incident – such as a neighbor’s house or a fenced yard?
  • Devise a code word to use with your children, grandchildren and others to communicate that you need the police or animal control authorities.
  • Use your instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, call 911 and move your children and pets into a safe room. Make sure this room has an outdoor exit and a telephone.
  • If the pet is injured during a violent episode, is there an emergency veterinarian you can call? Do you have a regular veterinarian and is his/her phone number in a handy place? If the animal has been injured, try to keep it quiet and warm until you can get help.
  • Children may want to protect the pet from getting hurt. It is important to make sure the children and pet leave the house or the area where the explosive incident is occuring.


  • Make arrangements in advance with a private or governmental agency (such as a domestic violence service or victim witness program) to provide emergency foster care services for your pets. Most human shelters do not allow animals, but safe no-cost alternatives are available through the Humane Society’s SAFE HAVEN program. Ask the agency to call the Humane Society for assistance.
  • Keep any necessary supplies or food for your pet at a friend’s or neighbor’s house. Have leashes and animal carriers in a handy place – such as a hallway closet. The less you have to take when you actually leave, the safer you will be. Remember that leaving can be the most dangerous time.
  • If your child tells you that someone has hurt or killed his pets, take it seriously. Individuals who hurt animals are five times more likely to hurt people. Pets are often used as a method to control kids during domestic violence situations.
  • If you can’t get the pet out when you leave and you are afraid the pet is going to be killed in retaliation, contact Pima Animal Control or the police so they can respond to the situation.


  • Inform friends and neighbors that your abuser is no longer living with you. If they see that person near your home, ask them to contact the police!
  • Consider keeping your pet indoors (especially at night) so the animal is not easily abducted. Provide all cats and dogs with collars, ID tags and identifying microchips.
  • Discuss a safety plan with your children for when they are not with you. Teach them responsibility for the family pet.


  • There is no such thing as harmless violence. If a loved one is hurting your animals, they may have a serious problem and require help.
  • If you witness animal cruelty, report it to your local police, sheriff’s department, animal control facility or humane organization. Stop the abuse before it spreads!
  • Teach your children how to properly care for animals. Do not allow them to abuse or hurt animals under any circumstances. If they learn to hurt animals, they may learn to hurt people.


  • Abandonment
  • The animal shows wounds such as cigarette burns, cuts, choking marks, etc.
  • The animal is not getting enough to eat.
  • The animal does not have access to water.
  • The animal is very fearful of people. It is afraid of one family member in particular.
  • The animal has been tortured or attacked.
  • The animal does not have any shelter from the weather. It lives in unsanitary conditions.
  • The animal is covered by fleas, ticks and other parasites.
  • The animal does not receive medical care when injured or ill.
  • The animal is used by one member of the family to control other members (such as threatening its safety or hurting it to control the children).
  • Members of the household do not seem concerned about the welfare of the animal. They may become angry when approached about the animal and tell others to “mind your own business.”


  • Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse: (888) 428-0101
  • Humane Society of Southern Arizona / SAFE HAVEN Program: (520) 327-6088
  • Pascua Yaqui Police: (520) 578-1814
  • Pima Animal Control Center: (520) 743-7550
  • Pima County Attorney’s Office / Victim Witness Program: (520) 740-5525
  • Pima County Sheriff’s Department / Domestic Violence Unit: (520) 741-4802
  • South Tucson Police Department / Domestic Violence Unit: (520) 622-0655
  • Tohono O’odham Police: (520) 383-3275
  • Tucson Police Department / Domestic Violence Unit: (520) 791-2520
  • Wingspan Gay and Lesbian Domestic Violence Services: (520) 624-1779

Courtesy of
3450 N Kelvin Blvd
Tucson, Arizona 85716
Shelter Phone: (520) 327-6088

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