Domestic Violence Shelter Opens Doors to Pets After Heroic Dog Protects Owner

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One courageous dog is changing the lives of women and their families at the Rose Brooks Center for domestic violence in Kansas City.

Last year, a woman called the center after being brutally beaten with a hammer by her boyfriend. She may have died, she said, if it wasn’t for her dog, a Great Dane, who jumped in the middle of the ruckus and protected his owner before the man threw both the dog and the woman out a second story window.

In the past, the Rose Brooks Center didn’t accept animals, but after the woman refused to abandon her dog — who she called “her angel” — the center reconsidered, thus changing the tide for many women in the area who find themselves choosing between their lives and that of their animals.

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“Forty percent of the women will not leave their pets, so they live in their cars or they stay [with the abuser],” Susan Miller, the center’s chief executive, told KCTV5 in Kansas City. “They risk their own life or the lives of their children.”

A year later, the Rose Brooks Center is expanding in more ways than they ever expected. In addition to adding 25 new beds for women and families, the shelter is building a pet-friendly wing, kennels, a trail and play area, which will accommodate women who wouldn’t leave their abusive homes without their beloved friends.

Miller told KCTV5 that seven out of 10 women in the U.S. say they can’t escape an abusive relationship because the abuser threatens to harm a pet, while two out of five say that they worry what will happen to their animal if they leave a relationship.

“[Pets] provide so much comfort, and to have to leave that pet behind is so heartbreaking,” Miller said. “It has become abundantly clear that the incredible therapeutic benefits that pets can have on a family greatly outweigh the cost and inconvenience of housing them.”

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