By Chrystal Knight

DETROIT (WWJ) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. According to statistics, many victims of domestic violence refuse to leave life threatening situations, if it means leaving their beloved pets behind in danger.

The nonprofit organization First Step: Peaceful Families, Safe Communities is working to change that scenario reports WWJ’s Chrystal Knight.

First Step’s goal to raise enough money to provide a safe place, where victims of domestic violence can flee with their companion animal or animals.

Associate Director Theresa Bizoe says the connection between domestic violence and animal cruelty is very real.

“Over half of the people that were coming into our shelter – had pets that had been threatened or harmed as a part of the threat and control of domestic violence. And half of those people wanted to bring their pet with them,” says Bizoe.

Renovations at their shelter include doggy doors, cat condos and a family visitation area.

First Step will be holding a special fundraiser called “Bark in the Ark” Thursday, October 13, at 6 p.m., at the Northville Hills Golf Club. Tickets are $75 per person.

If you have concerns about your safety and the safety of children and pets First Step will work with you and your children, at no cost to you, to develop a safety plan specific to your situation.

Call the First Step helpline for more information: 1-888-453-5900 or 1-734-722-6800.


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