Peacemaker helps domestic violence victims — and their pets

Peacemaker helps domestic violence victims — and their pets
Encinitas Rotary President Niko Sougias, left, awards the 2016 Peacemaker Award to Amy Silveira, with help from Gunner of the Healing Species Program. Courtesy photo

ENCINITAS — The 2016 Encinitas Rotary Peacemaker Award honored a Rancho Coastal Humane Society worker for her work with an “animal healing” program.

Amy Silveira, a program director with the humane society, received the award for her work with the Animal Safehouse and Healing Species Programs, which helps victims of domestic violence and their families, including their pets.

The program provides a support service to domestic violence shelters, which are unable to accept pets, by providing temporary shelter for the pets of victims of domestic violence, which allows battered individuals to escape abuse and seek safety.

Silveria received it during the Feb. 24 Rotary Club meeting.

“Peacemaking comes in many forms,” says Encinitas Rotary President Niko Sougias.  “The Encinitas Rotary Club Peacemaker Award recognizes community members who have made a significant difference in promoting tolerance, understanding, conflict resolution and peace, locally or globally.”

Rotary Peace Chair Robert Blumberg echoed Sougias’ sentiments.

“Whether we realize it or not, we all know a victim of domestic violence. People wonder why they don’t just leave. But it’s not that easy. Even if victims can find a domestic violence shelter that will take them and their kids, the shelters aren’t equipped to care for pets. Pets left behind become the new targets. So the human victims stay.

“They endure. In most cases, they survive. Sometimes they don’t,” Blumberg said.

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