If someone approaches you for advice on how to protect their animals from violence or abuse taking place in the home, the following ideas may be useful:

  • Try to remove the animals from the situation as soon as possible.  

    • Ask trusted friends or family members to care for animals temporarily.

    • Contact a kennel to make arrangements to have pets boarded. Kennels will require proof of vaccinations. This information is often listed on veterinary invoices; alternatively, the veterinarian may be able to supply a full vaccination record directly to the boarding kennel, upon request. 

    • Talk with local veterinarians, SPCAs/Humane Societies and animal rescues to determine if they can provide animal care. 

  • Gather supplies that might be useful if you have to leave quickly with your pet: a carrier, a favourite toy, bedding, a collar and leash, medications.

  • Prepare a list of things a temporary caregiver should be aware of, including the pet’s daily routine, diet and feeding schedule, medical conditions and treatments, or behaviour issues. 

  • If animals are being threatened, keep any evidence you may have (such as photos, emails, or voice mail messages) to provide to police.

  • Gather receipts or paperwork related to the purchase or care of pets to help prove ownership.


Signs of animal abuse can be similar to those seen in children experiencing abuse. 

  • Neglect:  animal in poor physical condition, emaciated, unkempt, matted fur

  • Physical injuries:  burns, bruises, lacerations, fractures

  • Emotional abuse:  animal demonstrates fearful behaviour or cowers in the presence of the abuser   


Animal hoarding – having more animals than you can adequately care for – is another type of abuse. Animal hoarding can be associated with elder abuse, child abuse, and self-neglect.


In addition to what you might see in the home, you might hear conflicting or improbable explanations for injuries suffered by the animal. The victim or children in the family may tell you about threats of violence or actual abuse to animals that is taking place. 




Ask questions about the presence and safety of animals in the home at intakes, client assessments, and interviews.

  • Do you have animals in the home?

  • Are you concerned about their safety?

  • Do you have a place to take them to keep them safe?

  • Do you need our assistance in doing so?