Three groups in Guelph have joined together to help women and their pets experiencing violence with the Pets in Transition program.
The goal of the program is to give women escaping violence an option for their pets, while they themselves get the help they need to get out of a bad situation.
Collaborating with Community Veterinary Outreach and Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, the Guelph Humane society is providing foster care for those pets for free.
Melissa Stolz with the society says many emergency shelters don't have options for animals, and even before the program started, women would come to them looking for help.
"They would call us directly and see if we had any options for them...and unfortunately in the past all we had was a 72-hour-hold...which wasn't a long-term option."
Stolz adds this is a vital service in Guelph and helps eliminate one potential barrier a woman might have when trying to leave an abusive relationship.
"There are a lot of cases where a woman won't leave a bad situation because of their pets. These are like our children and we don't want to leave them behind. So, when a woman is in a situation where her pet is in danger if she walks out the door getting safety for herself, she is probably going to stay in danger so that her pet isn't alone in danger."
She says so far the program has been a success.
"It has went really well so far, the stay is about three months long for the animal in foster care, and it's been pretty smooth so far."
The program is free. More information can be found on their website.