SafePet Program

SafePet Program

The SafePet Program is a joint program designed by OVMA, the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH), and Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF) and is administered by Ontario’s Violence Against Women (VAW) Shelters.

SafePet is dedicated to assisting women in leaving abusive partners by providing temporary housing and care for their pets. 

Many women at risk of abuse are reluctant to leave their abusive partners and seek help at a women’s shelter if it means leaving their beloved pet behind with the abuser.  Making that final decision to leave an abusive partner is a vital one; through SafePet, not only can women make this decision, they can make it more quickly and with ease.     

48% of surveyed Ontario women who had left their abusive partner said that their pets 
delayed their decision to leave an abusive partner. *

61% of surveyed Ontario women who had left their abusive partner stated 
that their partners had brutalized or killed a pet. * 

(*OSPCA 1998) 

 How Does SafePet Work?

1)     Volunteers (Pet Foster Parents) from across the province are working with their local VAW shelter and offering to take in pets that belong to women who are residents of VAW shelters.  The Pet Foster Parents will provide pets with food, shelter and appropriate exercise so that women at risk of abuse can stay in safety in the shelters and try to find longer-term arrangements for their pets.

2)     Volunteering Ontario veterinarians are providing assistance to SafePet by being a neutral location where the pet owner can drop off their pet before staying in a VAW shelter and Pet Foster Parents can pick the pet up after the veterinarian has completed an exam and any needed vaccinations.

I work at a VAW shelter.  How can my agency participate in the revised SafePet program?

SafePet is a voluntary program.  Information on the SafePet Program has been mailed to all Ontario VAW shelters by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Interested VAW shelters can sign up by notifying OAITH or AOcVF, and they will be added to the participants’ list.  OVMA, OAITH and AOcVF will provide interested VAW shelters and veterinary clinics with a comprehensive program guide, tools and templates in order to launch SafePet in their communities. 

Are you an OVMA Member?

If you are an OVMA member veterinarian and are looking for information on the Program, please download the SafePet Program Guide for OVMA Veterinary Clinics here.

Interested in becoming a pet foster parent?

If you wish to volunteer for the Program, please contact a local VAW shelter in your community.

Are you a woman at risk of abuse?

If you are a woman seeking safety, you can call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1.866.863.0511 (TTY 1.866.863.7868) or call a local women’s shelter who will act on your behalf to help place your pet.

By working together, we can help end violence in our communities.

An OVMA Community Relations Program