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Safe Haven Foster

Safe Haven Foster Program

The Wisconsin Humane Society Milwaukee Campus and Sojourner Family Peace Center have partnered to provide the Safe Haven program, which offers up to 60 days of shelter for animals of domestic violence survivors. Many survivors are hesitant to leave a dangerous situation because they fear for their animal’s safety. This program makes it possible for survivors to leave a dangerous situation without losing their companion animal. Animals provide companionship, comfort, and unconditional love to survivors and their children, and preserving the bond between families and their animals is vitally important. 

How can I help?

Volunteer as a foster parent to help animals and families in need.

Opening your home to an animal through the Safe Haven program not only provides a comfortable home environment for the animal, but also peace of mind for their family. Your generosity will help save lives – both human and animal. 

What Does This Position Require?

Safe Haven foster families must commit to caring for their foster animal for up to 60 days and may need to bring the foster animal to the shelter for occasional check-ups during that time. We are especially in need of Safe Haven foster families who are comfortable working with large breed dogs or who have no animals currently living in the home.

How Do I Become a Safe Haven Foster Parent?

To become a Safe Haven foster parent, click here to watch our foster orientation video. At the end of the video will be a link to our foster application. Once we receive and review your application, we will send you an email with an attached criminal background check application (required to foster for the Safe Haven Program only). Once the background check is completed, we will contact you to let you know that you are approved to foster animals for this program and provide the details on how to take fosters in need of support. 

Learn more about our foster program or check out answers to frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, please call (414) 431-6132 or email us.

Why is this program important?

Research finds a clear and compelling link between animal abuse and domestic violence.

A study of women seeking shelter showed that 71 percent of those with animals affirmed that their partner had threatened, hurt or killed their animal (Ascione, Weber and Wood, 1997). In an abusive home, a companion animal may serve as a survivor or child’s lone confidante. Abusers often use animals as pawns to manipulate and control the survivor, taking advantage of the survivor's concern for their animal. Abusers may threaten, harm, or kill animals to intimidate survivors, demand silence about the abuse, or prevent them from leaving.

Human & Animal Survivors

Many survivors are hesitant to leave a dangerous situation because they fear for their animal’s safety.

In fact, numerous surveys have reported that between 25 and 40 percent of survivors are unable to escape abusive situations out of concern for their animal’s safety (McIntosh, 2002). Their fears are not unfounded. Abusers often retaliate when the survivor leaves by torturing or killing their animals. Relinquishing a companion animal or leaving him or her in an unsafe situation increases stress in an already difficult situation, and lack of safe shelter for animals may even cause survivors to stay in unsafe situations to protect their animal.

Safe Haven foster families make a difference in the lives of families affected by domestic violence. You can help a survivor find safety while preserving the bond between a guardian and their companion animal. To become a Safe Haven foster parent, start by watching our orientation video.