The Christmas season poses many stresses for most of us: from money worries over the cost of presents to tensions over the impending arrival of in-laws and the desire to create that mythical ‘perfect Christmas’.
But whilst the greatest tension you might face is the daily battle between you and your spouse over the thermostat setting, in some families the festive season becomes the setting for some major battles. Too much alcohol and too much time indoors just don’t mix in some households. Domestic violence charities and animal charities both report that the number of violent incidents rises dramatically over Christmas, and that people and pets alike suffer psychological and often physical injuries from witnessing or being involved in domestic abuse.
Pets that witness these things and that are sometimes injured in the cross-fire often become very stressed. Dogs might bark excessively or even snap at their owners (perhaps trying to defend their main carer) whilst cats may begin to display destructive tendencies such as scratching walls and furniture or urinating indoors. For any animal that draws the attention of an aggressive owner in these ways it can sometimes mean a beating or at the very least being shouted at.
RSPCA Inspectors may be called in to visit the house. They have the unenviable task of questioning the owners and trying to assess whether animals in the house are suffering harm or are at risk of suffering harm.
The RSPCA Choices site is a new way of establishing project funding. It allows people to choose projects that they want to support, rather than simply donating to the RSPCA as a whole. If you are particularly affected by a desire to help animals who have suffered through domestic abuse then perhaps you could consider:
The Everyday Heroes campaign.
This aims to raise money and support for the RSPCA Inspectors who have to face abuse and violence as part of their job in order to safeguard and rescue animals. The cost of training and employing an RSPCA Inspector is high and yet without the Inspectors the RSPCA would not be able to reach those animals most in need of help, and nor would they be able to gather evidence to take animal abusers to court.
Find out more about the ‘Everyday Heroes’ campaign: http://www.rspca.org.uk/winterappeal
The Pet Retreat project.
Many people, men and women alike, often feel as if they cannot leave an abusive relationship out of fear of what will happen to their pet. They know that they cannot leave them with their abusive partner, but nor do they have anywhere to take them – if they are fleeing to the home of a family member or a shelter, for instance. The RSPCA’s Pet Retreat scheme aims to care for animals (who often need behavioural support to overcome their traumas) until they can be safely returned to their owners.
Please spare a thought for the animals affected by domestic abuse this winter and for the bravery of the Inspectors who do all they can to help these animals, often at great personal risk.
Consider Adopting A Pet This Winter.
These guides will help you prepare to adopt the perfect dog, or cat, for your home.
Give A Dog A Home:
Find The Purrfect Cat!