Resources for vets: What to do if you suspect domestic violence
Just last year, mainstream news media reported that a domestic violence survivor slipped a note to her veterinarian during a visit stating that her abuser, who was also at the clinic, had a gun and had threatened her. The authorities were alerted, and the abuser was taken into custody.
Something so dramatic is not likely to occur in your veterinary practice, but what do you do if you suspect a client is suffering from domestic violence? Following are resources for veterinary staff should you be faced with a domestic violence situation.
• The National Domestic Violence Hotline's Safe Havens project
• Organizations that help pets in domestic violence situations on a national scale: the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Link Coalition, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and Sheltering Animals and Families Together
• A map created by Michigan State University that shows states that have enacted legislation allowing individuals to include pets in domestic violence protection orders. Typically, these laws allow a petitioner to take possession of companion animals in the home and/or prevent the respondent from harming or removing companion animals.