Victims of domestic abuse and their pets have a new ally.
Noah’s Rest is a Zion-based nonprofit that arranges safe, temporary shelter for pets of domestic abuse victims while they seek help in shelters, such as A Safe Place, where pets are not allowed.
Three friends — only known as Deana, George and Patty, for safety reasons — started the organization to break one of many barriers that is known to keep victims of domestic abuse in the home: Not wanting to leave a loved one behind.
“It’s all about a certain power over the victim,” said Pat Davenport, executive director of A Safe Place.
Davenport’s team works daily with men and women, assisting them in creating an escape plan that, until now, excluded pets.
“It provides a solution to a problem we couldn’t help our clients with,” Davenport said. “It’s heartbreaking not to have a solution.”
In starting Noah’s Rest, Deana, George and Patty set out to provide a life-saving resource for victims who many times are reluctant to leave a violent situation because of their concern for their pet.
“They’re scared to leave their beloved animal behind with the abuser,” George said. “The abuser knows that; that’s how the power over them works.”
He added that studies have found a link between animal and domestic abuse, and many times the pets are used to terrorize and instill fear.
Noah’s Rest is now an option that domestic abuse victims can include in their escape plan with A Safe Place.
There is a waiver the pet owner signs giving temporary custody to the organization for 30 days. The pet will be housed and cared for during that time at loving, secret location, Deana said.
Every case will be different, she added, but when the 30 days are up, the pet will be placed back with his or her owner.
“Noah’s Rest is very excited to create this option for domestic abuse victims and to watch it grow and assist Lake County communities with such an important matter,” Deana said.