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2023 was a challenging year for nonprofits, but you made our continued mission possible through your generosity! Take a look at what we accomplished together!

Friends of Hardin County Animal Shelter (FOHCAS) board members met recently with SpringHaven employees to deliver the first donation of pet supplies that will support the new initiative between the two organizations. Pictured from left: FOHCAS Treasurer Pat Covault and Board Chair Myra Covault; SpringHaven Executive Director Georgia Hensley, Animal Advocate Erin Burke and her dog Sarge, and Assistant Executive Director Jessica Moore.

SpringHaven, Inc. Domestic Violence Program (SpringHaven) and Friends of Hardin County Animal Shelter (FOHCAS) are partnering to provide resources for domestic violence survivors who face the choice of leaving a pet with an abuser or trying to find a shelter that will house a pet.

SpringHaven’s mission is to educate communities, advocate for social change and empower victims of domestic violence. The mission of Friends of Hardin County Animal Shelter intersects with that of SpringHaven as both work toward a more compassionate community where the voiceless have a voice. Research shows that an abuser’s pattern of violence often includes all members of a household, including children and pets. When domestic violence survivors seek to flee their abusers, many are faced with the challenge of finding shelter for not only themselves, but for their children and pets as well. Many shelters do not have the means to house companion animals. This can lead survivors to stay in an abusive home or face threats to their animal by the abuser.

The new initiative between SpringHaven and FOHCAS will engage community resources to provide an option for domestic abuse survivors with pets. The idea was sparked by someone who knows too well the situation that these survivors face.   

“I'm a domestic violence survivor. I did not leave because I did not want to leave my two cats,” says Erin Burke, who has been in the role of Animal Advocate at SpringHaven for about a month. “I always said that one day my struggles would benefit people in some capacity; so, once an advocate position came available at SpringHaven, I knew it was my calling.”

As Animal Advocate, Burke says her role is to be the bridge between the domestic violence shelter and the animal needs which can include anything from temporary placement of the pet, to basic supplies like food and litter, to vet care. Ultimately, Burke’s goal is for SpringHaven to be a pet-friendly shelter. “We can immediately accept cats in our shelter, but it will take some time to accept dogs at SpringHaven. In the meantime, we have a community of fosters and other supporters who are eager to assist in providing safe, temporary housing for the dog while the resident is staying with us.”

“FOHCAS’ role will be to work with Erin to secure the needed resources,” says FOHCAS board chair Myra Covault. “For many survivors, it is critical to them to get their pets to safety – and we are excited to bring together our network of supporters to help them do that.”

While this new initiative is still in the planning stage, both groups are working to have a framework in place in January. Burke understands the urgency better than most. “Pets can help a survivor’s healing,” she says, “mine helped me.”

Organizations and individuals can help with monetary, supply and in-kind donations. See above for links to list of needed items and to make a monetary donation.  

Join us for HOCUS FOHCAS - a fun night with your best pet friend at Bourbon Barrel Tavern in downtown E'town on "Third Thursday", October 19th 4-8pm.

Bring your pet in costume (feel free to come in costume too). There is no fee to enter AND you could win a prize! Categories for pet costume judging are scariest, most creative and best group (animal or animal/human group). We reserve the right to disqualify any costume that is disrespectful to anyone else. Also, humans, we really prefer not to see "sexy" versions of anything please.

Dogs, cats and other small pets are welcome as long as they are leashed or otherwise contained and are ok with other animals in the same space. We don't need any bar room brawls, so if your pet prefers his/her space other-animal free, this won't be the best place for them.

Sign up for the costume contest by 6pm. Judging starts at 6:30pm and winners will be announced at 7pm.

We look forward to seeing you at BBT on October 19th!

“Give while we’re living”

Bill Schaffrick is an incredible man and inspiration. A 98-year-old veteran of World War II, who fought during the Battle of the Bulge, Mr. Schaffrick started a foundation with his amazing family to give back to their community.

We are deeply honored to have been selected by the Schaffrick Family Charitable Foundation to receive $22,000 that will go directly to our mission of making our community a safer, more caring place for animals.

The money is so crucial to our continued work, but the faith of partners like the Schaffricks in us and in what we do is even more humbling.

Words aren’t sufficient to express our gratitude to this family and the man who has been a living example of selflessness. What a gift it was to meet him. May we all strive to “give while we’re living” in any way we can.

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