July 17th, 2024

Women’s shelter and SPCA to host annual pet walk

By ANNA SMITH on May 31, 2024.

The Medicine Hat Women's Shelter Society and Medicine Hat SPCA are teaming up to host the annual Pet Walk on June 6.--NEWS FILE PHOTO

asmith@medicinehatnews.com

The Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society and Medicine Hat SPCA are once again joining forces to offer the city a chance to show support and raise awareness during the ninth annual Pet Walk.

They invite the community to dress themselves and their pets in purple, and make their way to the Kin Coulee Kinette Picnic Shelter. The event itself will run from 6-8 p.m. on June 6, with the official walk beginning at roughly 6:30 p.m. near the Phoenix Safe House Mural.

“Abusers often use a victim’s love for a pet and fear for a pet’s safety as a way to prevent them from leaving or coercing them to return,” said Natasha Carvalho, MHWSS executive director. “This is why MHWSS has a longstanding partnership with the MHSPCA, so that those fleeing family violence and coming into our shelter also have the option to keep their pets safe and sheltered at the SPCA.”

The walk aims to celebrate this partnership, which helps those seeking refuge from domestic violence have peace of mind knowing their animals will be well cared for, as well as raises awareness in the greater community about the effects of domestic violence on household animals and the work that both the MHWSS and SPCA do to help vulnerable pets and people.

A 2012 Alberta SPCA survey found that 59 per cent of abused women with animals delayed leaving out of concern for their animal, said the MHWSS, and the same survey found that 36 per cent of abused women with animals reported their abuser threatened or harmed their animals.

Eighty-five per cent of threats against animals were carried out.

“The ninth annual Pet Walk is an event for our community to come together and support animal welfare; it’s also a crucial platform to raise awareness about the link between family and animal violence,” said Kaylee Getz, shelter director Medicine Hat SPCA.

“For years, the Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society and the SPCA have worked together to provide a safe haven for both people and their pets in times of crisis,” said Getz. “Our partnership ensures that individuals facing family violence situations have a trusted place to turn to for pet safekeeping, alleviating one of the many burdens they bear.”

Getz spoke on the importance of understanding the “reciprocal connection” between animal safety and family safety. She stressed a belief that together, the community can create a world where both humans and their pets are protected from violence.

Participation in the event is free, and no registration is required. The occasion will feature prizes, refreshments, a scavenger hunt and various family-friendly activities. Participants are encouraged to wear purple while attending.

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