What a Difference CARE Can Make

Amy* wanted to leave, but her abusive husband had already threatened to kill her dogs if she left him. Terrified, trapped and herself a victim of her husband’s rage and physical violence, Amy felt like she had nowhere to turn for help. Finally, one day when she was home alone, she had the courage to contact a nearby domestic violence shelter, which contacted Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) for help. APNM immediately reached out to its network of CARE safe havens and after considerable coordination, found a place where Amy’s two dogs could stay together in safe foster care while she herself got help. After two months of services from a domestic violence service provider, Amy was able to secure a job, interrupt her pattern of abusive relationships, and move to a new location away from her abusive husband. Soon after, she was reunited with her two dogs who in the meantime had been spayed/neutered and given veterinary care.
*Amy’s name has been changed to protect her and her animals.
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Stories like Amy’s are all too common in New Mexico, where domestic violence is a plague on our community. According to the New Mexico Interpersonal Violence Data Central Repository, in 2011 there were 21,368 victims in 18,740 domestic violence incidents reported to statewide law enforcement agencies. While, to our knowledge, no statewide data are kept on the number of animals involved in those incidents, published research suggests that a very large percentage of cases involve animals as victims themselves and as leverage against another abuse victim in the household.

Domestic violence victims often count their animals among the few sources of comfort in their lives, and abusers know that. They threaten to harm those animals as a way of controlling the movements and actions of their victims. Often, the only way victims will seek the help they want and need is if they know their animals can also be completely safe. That’s where the Companion Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) Network comes in.

Created in 1999 in response to an unmet need in New Mexico, the CARE Network has been helping women and their animals in our state ever since. From the very beginning, the CARE program has had support from New Mexico’s domestic violence prevention community, in recognition of the value of the program to families and their well-being. The CARE Network has undergone many changes over the years, but one thing has remained a constant: Women and their animals who need help have had somewhere to turn for help.

"I don't know what I would have done without the CARE Network, this program allowed me to get on a better path and it quite literally saved my life and the lives of my dogs."

-CARE client

APNM recently teamed up with domestic violence service providers in Albuquerque and Valencia County, and has identified a number of ways the CARE program can provide even better service to women and their animals. APNM hopes to expand and improve its level of CARE Network services, but we need the community’s help to do so.

Please learn about our modest plans and make an online contribution; do your part to help those who desperately need a leg up. We aim to raise about $3,000 right now, and we’re already part way to our goal.

Even a small donation will help create big change that will be magnified as more people and animals are helped through the CARE Network.

Feeling even more empowered to make change? Join the ten other APNM members who already give monthly to APNM’s CARE program, you can sign up on APNM’s website, we make it easy and rewarding to give!

Click here for CARE poster

Finally, if you can’t contribute money but you can regularly contribute your time to the CARE program, please contact us and we will help turn your labor into meaningful results.

Whatever you do, please forward this lifesaving information to people on your email list, to friends, neighbors, co-workers and anyone else who knows how important it is to lend a hand to those in need.

Thank you for CARE-ing about the human and non-human victims of domestic violence in our community!

RELATED LINKS

CARE Network brochure (English)

CARE Network brochure (Spanish)

CARE poster

New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence