Marcella D. Ridgway
The importance of pets in families, especially during major life stressors, is well documented. Research suggests links between pet ownership and intimate partner violence (IPV). This study explored abused women’s decisions about pets when seeking help from a shelter. Interviews were conducted with 19 women who were pet owners. Using grounded theory methods, two patterns emerged surrounding abusers’ treatment of pets, bonds to pets, women’s decisions about pets upon seeking shelter, and future plans for pets. The presence of coercive control was central to these patterns. Women also discussed their experiences with and needs from shelter professionals and veterinarians with implications for practice.