This is a Great Dane like J. Matthew, the hero, with thanks to Lorraine Maresca for photo
Abusive partners control others in many ways. Some threaten to burn, break or slash loved items. And others abuse their partner’s animals in order to gain control. Some four footed friends are thrown out of windows, smashed against walls and otherwise threatened. Lest you think these are isolated stories “According to The American Humane Society, 71 percent of pet-owning females who enter women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control family members.”
Dangling a dog out of an open widow with 8 floors between him and sure death would tend to inspire a woman to "obey" whomever was holding her loved pet.
Dogs and cats are held hostage in divorce or separation procedures, couples agree over the children’s arrangements but fight almost to the death over the pets. I have seen parents hold animals hostage in order to force the children to visit them or to extract a measure of revenge from the situation.
Pets are often dragged into power and control issues. Paw and Order reports, “Up to 40 percent of women are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their animals if they leave. Because of their loyalty to their animals, and the psychological comfort dogs and cats provide, battered women have been known to live in their cars for months waiting for an available opening in a pet-friendly safe house.”
The story features the touching account of a 110 pound Great Dane who threw himself upon a woman as her partner beat her with a hammer. The magazine from the shelter quotes the woman, “When my great dane, J.Matthew, heard me scream, he laid on top of me. I tried to get him out of the way, but he received the first of many blows from my abuser,” says McKenzie, 30, whose name has been changed to protect her identity.
The Great Dane suffered a smashed hip and ribs. He turned to attack her abuser, he was then beaten again and thrown off a porch. McKenzie's abuser threatened to shoot her if she comforted her pet. “I didn’t know whether to believe him or not and I didn’t want to push it,” she said.
Police encouraged her to seek shelter, but she would not leave until she found a safe house where she could take her Great Dane. After all, he saved her life.
VetStreet reported that the shelter bent the rules and allowed her to bring her four footed hero with her. They know women remain in dangerous situations, or sleep in their vehicles in order to save and be with their pets. Her situation was just too dangerous. The shelter now has 7 kennels and pet friendly areas. Not only did the Great Dane save her life, because of the shelter’s response to her plight he may have saved others. Bravo to the staff of Rose Brooks Center in Kansas Missouri.
Here’s hoping more follow your example. Shelters are largely charity supported and many need volunteers, time and private funds to exist let alone
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