Non-profit helping victims, their pets in domestic violence situations
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – A Lincoln woman is celebrating having her whole family back together this Christmas season. She was reunited with her two beloved cats after being separated for nearly a year.
“Everything’s just falling into place, it’s awesome,” Nicole said. “Especially around Christmas.”
Nicole, who 10/11 NOW is only going to identify by her first name, had to give up her cats, Sabastian and Mr. Tibbs, because she was working to get back on her feet after escaping an abusive relationship, but one non-profit made sure she didn’t have to give them away for good.
The non-profit, ShelterMe takes in animals from victims of domestic violence and places them with foster parents until the owner is in a safe home.
Nicole said when she found ShelterMe, she was about to give up Sabastian and Mr. Tibbs for good.
“I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t take my animals with me,” Nicole said. “I couldn’t choose between feeding my kids or feeding my cats; it wasn’t fair to them.”
Then, she got in touch with Sam Franklin, founder of ShelterMe.
“I was a victim of domestic violence and I had to leave my dogs with my abuser for three weeks,” Franklin said. “I didn’t know if they were alive or dead, if they were being fed. I didn’t want anyone else to feel the same way I felt.”
Franklin said 65 percent of domestic violence survivors don’t leave because they’re worried about their pets safety and 71 percent said their abuser threatened to harm or kill their pets.
“We have to change that; we have to change that statistic,” Franklin said.
So since she found ShelterMe, Franklin and her team have been connecting the pets of victims with foster homes who provide food, shelter and love for the pets until the victim is ready, at no cost to them.
“They work so hard to get safe and get to a position where they can take their animals back,” Franklin said.
For Nicole, that moment came this week, when she and her children were able to bring Sabastian and Mr. Tibbs back home.
“I couldn’t wait to open their cages,” Nicole said. “They remembered us and were so happy to be home.”
Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.