Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week is April 21-27

by Lee Chambers

When someone is living in an abusive household, they can become engulfed in fear and hopelessness.

Domestic violence is a weapon used to inflict pain and exert control. It's directed at spouses and children. In a large majority of households where domestic violence exists, pets are also harmed to psychologically control victims. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 52% of victims in shelters leave their pets with their batterers.

Dakin's Safety Plan for Animals (SPAN) was created to give Pioneer Valley residents and their pets a better outcome.

Through this Program, we can help people living with domestic violence who have a pet that they’re afraid to leave behind, should they seek emergency shelter elsewhere. In that case, Dakin – or a foster caregiver assigned by Dakin – can provide temporary care for their pet for up to 30 days.

“Life throws lots of challenges at us,” says Dakin’s Executive Director Carmine DiCenso. “The SPAN program allows people to be able to focus on the crisis they’re facing without having to worry about the well-being of a beloved pet, and to be able to maintain the pet/person bond which is so important when times are tough.”

We want to help pets and their people transition from crisis to care. For more information on Dakin’s SPAN Program, click here (

People in the Pioneer Valley who are considering fleeing a violent household can call:

  • The New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT), the sexual and domestic violence crisis center for Franklin County and North Quabbin ( at 413-772-0806 or 888-249-0806 (Toll free) 

If you suspect or witness animal cruelty in western Massachusetts, call the MSPCA at 413-448-6046



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