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Crisis center launches task force to address link between pet abuse, domestic violence

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Domestic abusers often use pets as a pawn in the emotional abuse and sometimes even physically abuse the pets themselves.

Beacon of Hope Crisis Center has launched a new task force to highlight this problem.

"The assailant will use the pet to manipulate the victim to get them to do things. Either by abusing the pet if they don't do what they want," said Beacon of Hope Crisis Center Board Spokeswoman Jacqueline Ponder.

Beacon of Hope Crisis Center has a foster pet program to address all the reasons a victim may have for staying. Families are ready and waiting to foster pets surrendered due to domestic violence situations.

"A father was trying to get the child to do something and stabbed the family cat in front of him. So when victims are looking at having to get out one of the top four reasons they won't leave a dangerous situation is they don't know what to do with the pet," Ponder said.

Beacon of Hope has studied the link between pet abuse and domestic violence. That's what inspired them to launch the Pet Abuse Link Task Force. The group will include veterinarians and provide resources to help combat violence against pets.

"What we're going to do is we're going to provide these foster pet services to any domestic violence center throughout the state of Indiana. And we can just provide add on services of foster pets," Ponder said.

Just this month alone, 9 days into October Beacon of Hope has helped 41 survivors and 9 pets leave a dangerous situation and the numbers show this problem isn't slowing down in our community.

"From January 1 to September 1 we had 800 new cases that came to us. New clients," Ponder said.

This Thursday Beacon of Hope will host its second annual Give Abuse the Boot Gala. The event will feature two artist highlighting their stories through sculptures and a book that’s being turned into a screen play. Find ticket information for the gala here.