Protecting Yourself and Your Pet from Domestic Violence - Pet Financial Assistance IL, IN and WI (2022)

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Almost 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US every minute, and this equates to more than 10 million men and women who are abused every single year.” But what constitutes domestic violence? Does it only impact people, or can it impact pets, too?

Recent studies on domestic violence show that 49% to 71% of abusive relationships include reports that the victim’s pets have either been threatened, harmed, or killed by an abusive partner. A national survey also indicates that 85% of domestic violence shelters report that victims also provided statements which include pet abuse. Increasing evidence also shows that over the past ten years that what starts as abuse carried out on pets often gravitate to physical or emotional abuse performed on intimate partners.1

Domestic violence can be defined as violent or aggressive behavior that happens between one person and another as well as violence against animals. This behavior typically happens in a home setting, and any inflicted violence is often used to inflict control over one person or another. With domestic violence, it can include physical or mental abuse or both.

Verbal abuse occurs when someone verbally assaults or criticizes someone with intense anger or hostility in an effort to cause them to harm or to control them. Physical abuse typically occurs when someone inflicts bodily harm, injury, or trauma to another person, a child, or a pet. When they’re involved in a domestic violence situation, pets and humans experience intense stress, anxiety, and fear which prevent them from functioning normally.

If you or your pets are currently being abused – please listen up. You are amazing and deserve to feel safe in your own home. You are incredible, and you don’t deserve to be mistreated. You are a strong, powerful, and wonderful person who has unique gifts and talents. Your life is important, and you deserve to be treated with love and respect. You should never be abused. Nothing you can do will ever warrant that. The same is true of your pets. Like you, they deserve to feel loved and safe at all time. And, it is your God-given right for you and your pets to be taken care of and not harmed.

If you’re one of the millions of people who are experiencing the trauma of domestic violence, please remember that you are not alone and helpless. You don’t have to keep yourself in this frightening and stressful situation anymore; there are people and organizations who can help you feel safe and secure. You have a choice. You have options. It is time for you to get away and seek a safe environment for you and your pets. By acting now, you can prevent further physical and emotional scars from hurting even more. You and your pets can heal from the trauma and live a full, happy, and normal life free from pain, stress, and danger. In this article, we’ll discuss signs of domestic violence in pets, what you can do to protect yourself and your pets and we’ll also provide some safe places in IL, IN and WI that want to help.

Signs of Domestic Violence in a Pet

Although pets are notoriously good at hiding their fears and stress, there are certain signs that indicate that they’ve been abused. For instance, have you noticed any of the following signs in your pet? They are:

  • Unusual behavioral problems such as submissiveness or aggression
  • A display of intense fear when they’re around someone specific (tail tucked low, won’t give person eye contact, etc.)
  • Any non-accidental or suspicious injuries that no one can explain (lacerations, broken bones, etc.)
  • Submissive urination, unwillingness or interest in playing with toys, shaking uncontrollably, or cowering in a corner

What to Do with Your Pets Temporarily

If you notice any of these signs and you have concerns about your own safety as well as the safety of your pet, it’s time to act quickly. You can’t stay in an unsafe environment, and you must protect yourself.

Here are some steps that you should take right away:

  1. Make Necessary Arrangements to Get Out– Once you understand the severity of the situation, it is time to leave. At this point, it is not only about your welfare but that of your pet as well. So, if you or your pet is being abused, you should decide whom you’re going to live with now. Will you stay in a hotel, relatives or with a trusted friend? Can someone you trust, help keep you both safe? Either way, you should call ahead and make sure that they will accommodate you and your pet. Or, make arrangements for your pet until you can figure things out.
  2. Pack the Essentials – A dire situation may lead you to leave home immediately. In such crises, don’t forget to pack the bare essentials:
    • Pet food, leashes, and collars
    • Routine and emergency medications
    • Ownership-related documents
    • Vaccination or vet’s documents
    • Identification tags
    • Toys, bedding, and treats

Note: If you don’t want your domestic partner to know about your plans to leave before you actually go, ask a trusted friend to keep any and all supplies so that you can readily reach out when crisis strikes. And, by all means, be careful until it’s exit time as abusers typically will turn even more violent when they realize that you are trying to flee!

(Video) Domestic Violence Shelters and Pets: Creating a Pet-Friendly Program that Works for You

  1. Prioritize Your Pet’s Safety – Once you’ve left the abusive situation, seek legal assistance and secure a temporary restraining order which is a “court order that protects a person or persons from physical, mental, verbal, or other abuse. It can require the abuser to keep at least 100 yards away from the victim, enforceable by arrest?” Additionally, you should keep your pet safe from harm too. Therefore, keep your pet indoors to avoid chances of them being abducted. Let your friends and neighbors know about your situation so that if anyone spots the abuser, they can immediately report their actions to the police. Additionally, if your pet is staying in a temporary SAFE shelter or foster program, inform the authorities about your situation. Make it clear that they should not allow anyone to visit with your pet without your express permission.

In conclusion, domestic violence is a serious situation, and you owe it to yourself and your pet to stay safe. As soon as you realize that your life or your pet’s life is in danger, it’s time to act. You owe it to yourself and your pet to get out of an unsafe environment. Life is too short, and you’re both too amazing to be in danger. Don’t allow yourself and your pet to become victims, there’s always a way out, and there are organizations who can help you and your pets.

Here are some organizations in IL, IN, and WI that can assist pet owners and their pets who are in a domestic violence situation. If you would like to know more or for a full list of organizations in other areas, please click on this link




Hotline Number: 800-892-3375 or 815-672-2353



Hotline Number: 800-603-4357 or 773-274-5232

(Video) Expanding Safety and Support Services For Survivors of Domestic Violence and Their Pets



Hotline Number: 217-352-7151 or 217-352-7151


Chicago, IL 60654

Hotline Number: 312-645-8040 or 312-644-8338


(Video) I'm Ready to Leave My Abuser, Now What?

Princeton, IL 61356

Hotline Number: 815-872-7387


Naperville, IL 60563

Hotline Number: 630-420-8989 ext.116 or 630-420-8989


(Video) Part I: The Link between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence



Hotline Number: 800-273-8255, 765-288-4357, 765-747-9107 or 765-747-9107



Hotline Number: 877-728-9800 or 260-728-9800



(Video) Today’s Takeaway: How To Leave An Abusive Relationship Safely

Hotline Number: 800-245-4580 or 812-482-1555


Can you get disability for PTSD from domestic violence? ›

Some of these mental health conditions can be so severe that you find yourself unable to work and earn a living. If this is the case, a woman with a mental health trauma from domestic violence may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

What is an abusive pet owner? ›

Animal abuse, or animal cruelty is the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death on an animal, usually a tame one, beyond necessity for normal discipline. It can include neglect that is so monstrous (withholding food and water) that the animal has suffered, died or been put in imminent danger of death.

What is considered animal neglect in Illinois? ›

(a) No person or owner may beat, cruelly treat, torment, starve, overwork or otherwise abuse any animal. (b) No owner may abandon any animal where it may become a public charge or may suffer injury, hunger or exposure.

Can vets detect abuse? ›

Veterinarians have many tools available for evaluating animals suspected of having been abused: forensic clinical examinations, blood testing, urinalyses, cytology, diagnostic imaging, and forensic postmortem examinations.

How much money do you get for PTSD disability? ›

Depending on the severity, a veteran's diagnosis of PTSD is eligible for VA disability rating of 100% ($3,332.06/month), 70% ($1,529.95/month), 50% ($958.44/month), 30% ($467.39/month), 10% ($152.64/month), or 0% (no payment).
VA Disability Ratings for PTSD.
RatingMonthly amount
4 more rows
12 Oct 2021

How do you prove you have PTSD? ›

To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
  1. At least one re-experiencing symptom.
  2. At least one avoidance symptom.
  3. At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms.
  4. At least two cognition and mood symptoms.

What animals are abused the most? ›

Most common victims

The animals whose abuse is most often reported are dogs, cats, horses and livestock. Undercover investigations have revealed that animal abuse abounds in the factory farm industry.

What is the most common type of animal abuse? ›

Neglect is the most common type of animal cruelty.

What organization protects animals? ›

WWF - Endangered Species Conservation. World Wildlife Fund.

How long is jail time for animal abuse? ›

Many people wonder if animal cruelty is a federal felony. In 2019 the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act or PACT Act was signed into law, making certain acts of animal cruelty a federal crime. Violating the PACT Act is punishable by a prison term up to seven years, a fine, or both.

How long can a dog bark legally in Illinois? ›

Animals are prohibited from making “excessive noise” for over 15 consecutive minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. the first day, and more than 10 minutes from 10:01 p.m. to 6:59 p.m. the next day, the report said. Complaints could be corroborated by recordings or multiple witnesses.

Is it illegal to leave your dog outside in the winter in Illinois? ›

It states that no cat or dog owner should expose their pet in a life-threatening situation for a long period of time either in excessive cold or extreme heat conditions. It would be Class A misdemeanor, where pet owners could face up to a year in jail or a fine up to $2,500.

Is it neglect to not take dog to vet? ›

Almost all states also make it illegal to neglect an animal. In many states, neglect simply means not providing necessary food, water, and shelter. Several states go further by requiring that owners also give their animals needed veterinary care, exercise, sanitary conditions, and protection from the weather.

What are the benefits of domestic pets? ›

Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults.

What are the benefits of domestic animals? ›

There are many health benefits of owning a pet. They can increase opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Regular walking or playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Pets can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship.

What is the average disability check 2022? ›

In 2022, the average SSDI payment for an individual is $1,358, but almost two-thirds of SSDI recipients receive less than that. And only 10% of SSDI recipients receive $2,000 per month or more. The 2022 average monthly benefit for an SSDI recipient who has a spouse and children is $2,383.

What is grossly inappropriate behavior? ›

Grossly inappropriate behavior could include intermittent memory loss, suicidal ideation, or the persistent danger of hurting yourself or others.

How much SSI will I get for mental health? ›

Disability benefits for mental health condition also varies depending on if the person on disability receives SSI or SSDI benefits. The average SSI payment for adults in 2021 is $586 per month and the average SSDI payment for adults in 2021 is $1,277.

How do you know if you are traumatized? ›

Intrusive memories

Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event. Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks) Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event. Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event.

How does a person with PTSD Act? ›

People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear or anger; and they may feel detached or estranged from other people.

What is the most mistreated pet? ›

Care to guess what the world's most abused animal is? In terms of sheer numbers and the routine suffering inflicted on them, it's got to be the chicken.

What breed of dog is the most abused? ›

Pit bulls have a much higher fatality rate when they attack humans than other breeds, but they are also the most abused breed in the United States. They are illegally used in dogfighting matches and provoked to aggressive behavior.

What's the most mistreated pet? ›

According to the humane society, the most common victims are dogs, and pit bulls top the list. Each year about 10,000 of them die in dog fighting rings. About 18 percent of animal abuse cases involve cats and 25 percent involve other animals.

What is passive cruelty? ›

Passive Cruelty (Acts of Omission)

Examples of neglect are starvation, dehydration, parasite infestations, allowing a collar to grow into an animal's skin, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions, and failure to seek veterinary care when an animal needs medical attention.

What is an animal abuser? ›

Animal cruelty involves gratuitously inflicting harm, injuring, or killing an animal. The cruelty can be intentional, such as kicking, burning, stabbing, beating, or shooting; or it can involve neglect, such as depriving an animal of water, shelter, food, and necessary medical treatment.

What makes a person cruel to animals? ›

Some common motivations for acts of animal abuse are:

as a form of amusement or “shock value” (common with youth) unmanaged emotions resulting in behaviors directed at animals (anger/rage) prejudicial behaviors towards a particular species (example: “cat haters”) retaliation towards an animal or person.

What is the biggest animal rights organization? ›

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, and PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally.

What is PETA act? ›

An Act to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and for that purpose to amend the law relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. BE it enacted by Parliament in the Eleventh Year of the Republic of India as follows:― CHAPTER I.

What are the five welfare needs? ›

What are the five welfare needs?
  • live in a suitable environment.
  • eat a suitable diet.
  • exhibit normal behaviour patterns.
  • be housed with, or apart from, other animals.
  • be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
5 Apr 2022

Do dog abusers go to jail? ›

Penal Code 597 PC is the California statute that prohibits animal abuse or cruelty. This is defined as maliciously killing, harming, maiming, or torturing a living animal. The offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony and carries a sentence of up to 3 years in jail or prison.

Which state has the highest animal cruelty rate? ›

Delaware has the nation's highest rate of animal cruelty in the country, at more than 113 reported offenses per 100,000 people.

How many dogs can you legally own in Illinois? ›

There's no statewide law in Illinois that limits the number of dogs you can have, but individual cities have their own restrictions. Urban areas tend to tap out at a max of 4 dogs per household, though some have rules about the total number of domesticated animals in the house including cats.

Is it illegal to not pick up dog poop in Illinois? ›

While there is no statewide law in Illinois that requires dog owners to pick up pet excrement, various municipalities have their own laws regarding this issue.

Can you get fined if your dog barks? ›

IT'S perfectly normal for dogs to bark, but if you find yours is barking a little too much, you could be in for some hefty consequences. If your pup has the habit of barking excessively, it is not only a source of headaches for you and those around you, but can even land you an unlimited fine.

Can I bury my dog in my backyard in Illinois? ›

In Illinois, you may bury your pet in the ground as long as you own the property. The pet must be at least 6 inches under compounded dirt. It also must be no less than 200 feet from a stream, private potable water supply well, or any other potable water supply source.

Can you break a car window to save a dog in Illinois? ›

According to, there are only three states that have a "Good Samaritan" Law that permit breaking car windows to save an animal locked inside. Those states are Wisconsin, Florida, and Tennessee. In Illinois, only law enforcement or humane officer can legally break into a car to rescue an animal.

Can a felon own a pitbull in Illinois? ›

Sec. 12-36. Possession of unsterilized or vicious dogs by felons prohibited. or neutered, any dog that has been determined to be a vicious dog under Section 15 of the Animal Control Act.

What does dog neglect look like? ›

Some signs that an animal is being neglected can include: Changes in appearance, such as fur loss, dull texture, or mange. Very skinny or sickly looking. Obvious wounds or injuries that remain untreated.

What is the difference between animal abuse and neglect? ›

Intentional cruelty means someone has purposely inflicted physical harm or injury on an animal. Unintentional cruelty, or neglect, could mean an animal has been denied the basic necessities of care, including food, water, shelter, or veterinary care.

How can you tell if dog was abused? ›

Sometimes, past abuse can leave no obvious signs on a dog's skin or fur.
Look for signs of anxiety.
  1. Excessive whining.
  2. Excessive panting.
  3. Drooling.
  4. Chewing.
  5. Digging.
  6. Pacing.
  7. Dislike of being left alone or separated.
  8. Urination or defecation when separated from its owners.

What pet is good for depression? ›

Cats have been known to help with loneliness, anxiety, depression, and more, just like dogs. If you're looking for a pet that requires a little less attention, a cat might be your best bet. They still make for great companions, but they're also okay with being alone for a while.

What dog breed is good for depression? ›

Here's a breakdown of the best breeds for depression support:
  • 1) Border Collies. One issue people with depression struggle with is the lack of motivation to get outside. ...
  • 2) Golden Retrievers. ...
  • 3) Sighthounds. ...
  • 4) Pugs. ...
  • 5) Corgis. ...
  • 6) Standard Poodles. ...
  • 7) Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. ...
  • 8) Labrador Retrievers.
11 Jan 2022

What are Class 3 domestic animals? ›

Domestic animals are those animals which are bred in homes and farms. These include many animals such as dogs, cats, sheets, cows, goats, horses etc.

What are the 5 domestic animals? ›

Pets (dogs, cats, hamsters, etc.) Livestock (cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, etc.) Beasts of burden (horses, camels, donkeys, etc.)

Are dogs happy with humans? ›

The science confirms what we knew all along, that most dogs actively choose proximity to humans and, within a few months of being born, a puppy's attraction is clearly toward people rather than other dogs.

What is PTSD in domestic violence? ›

PTSD from domestic violence is a condition in which the trauma of abuse has impacted life to the point where daily functionality is overwhelming. Intrusive thoughts, anxiety, flashbacks and feelings of dread can collectively make life a daily struggle.

What are symptoms of PTSD from emotional abuse? ›

Does emotional abuse lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
  • angry outbursts.
  • being easily startled.
  • negative thoughts.
  • insomnia.
  • nightmares.
  • reliving the trauma (flashbacks) and experiencing physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat.

Is PTSD a permanent disability? ›

Yes, PTSD is considered a permanent VA disability. The Department of Veteran Affairs recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder as a serious, life-altering mental condition and will award disability benefits to qualified veterans suffering from PTSD.

Does emotional abuse cause PTSD? ›

Emotional abuse can lead to C-PTSD, a type of PTSD that involves ongoing trauma. C-PTSD shows many of the same symptoms as PTSD, although its symptoms and causes can differ. Treatment should be tailored to the situation to address the ongoing trauma the person experienced from emotional abuse.

How does domestic violence affect a woman mentally? ›

These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. One study shows that the likelihood of abused women experiencing PTSD is seven times higher than for those who have not been abused. The risk of abused women developing depression and anxiety is also high.

Is domestic violence considered a trauma? ›

Examples of traumatic events include being a victim of a crime, experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, being abused as a child, surviving a natural disaster, or the death of a loved one. These events are beyond a person's control, and can happen to anyone.

Does domestic violence cause depression? ›

It is now well accepted that abuse (both in childhood and in adult life) is often the main factor in the development of depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders, and may lead to sleep disturbances, self-harm, suicide and attempted suicide, eating disorders and substance misuse.

What are the 5 signs of emotional abuse? ›

5 Signs of Emotional Abuse
  • They are Hyper-Critical or Judgmental Towards You. ...
  • They Ignore Boundaries or Invade Your Privacy. ...
  • They are Possessive and/or Controlling. ...
  • They are Manipulative. ...
  • They Often Dismiss You and Your Feelings.
23 May 2017

What is PTSD from narcissistic abuse? ›

As a narcissistic abuse survivor, you will likely have symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Your brain will be on high alert, looking out for danger. This is because the traumatic events triggered a fight or flight response within you. As a result, anything associated with those memories can trigger an anxiety attack.

How do emotional abuse victims act? ›

Emotional and psychological abuse can have severe short- and long-term effects. This type of abuse can affect both your physical and your mental health. You may experience feelings of confusion, anxiety, shame, guilt, frequent crying, over-compliance, powerlessness, and more.

How does a doctor diagnose PTSD? ›

To diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder, your doctor will likely: Perform a physical exam to check for medical problems that may be causing your symptoms. Do a psychological evaluation that includes a discussion of your signs and symptoms and the event or events that led up to them.

Can you get special monthly compensation for PTSD? ›

The veteran's 100 percent disability rating for PTSD is permanent within the meaning of 38 C.F.R. § 3.327(b)(2). The veteran is entitled to special monthly compensation based on the need for regular aid and attendance.

What mental illnesses count as a disability? ›

Mental illnesses that can be covered by Social Security disability include depression, anxiety and anxiety-related disorders, autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and intellectual disability.

What are the 3 main symptoms for someone suffering from PTSD? ›

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

What mental illnesses are caused by abuse? ›

Experiencing abuse or other trauma puts people at risk of developing mental health conditions, such as:
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Depression.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Misusing alcohol or drugs.
  • Borderline personality disorder.
16 Feb 2021

What does verbal abuse do to the brain? ›

Individuals exposed to high levels of verbal abuse from parents, for example, have reduced grey matter volume in their left auditory cortex and abnormalities in an important language-processing pathway in the brain, the left arcuate fasciculus.


1. Invisible Chains: From Domestic Violence to Coercive Control
2. Domestic Violence Safety Planning
(TN Coalition)
3. Part II: The Link between Animal Abuse and Elder Abuse
4. How to unmask your accuser as a liar (and win your case in court without a lawyer)
(Coimbra Law)
5. Safe Passage for Children Free Webinar: The Link Between Child Abuse and Animal Abuse
(Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota)
6. The Role of an Advocate in Safety Planning (new)
(Utah Domestic Violence Coalition)

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