You might say that she hit the ground running when Justina Kirkland joined your Rancho Coastal Humane Society as Coordinator of the Animal Safehouse Program. Within a few days she began taking in pets from domestic violence victims, veterans, and families in-crisis.
Within just a few days, Justina began changing lives.
RCHS created the Animal Safehouse Program in the late 90’s as the safety net for the pets of domestic violence victims. While there were shelters for the human victims and their children, those shelters were not equipped to care for their pets. Pets left behind were likely to become the new victims. So the human victims stayed. They took the abuse so their pets didn’t have to.
When Safehouse took the pets that opened the door for the human victims to break the chain of violence and escape it changed lives. In some cases it saved lives.
In recent years ASP has grown to help others who needed temporary care for their pets. There are others in crisis situations who just need someone to take their pets so they can save themselves.
During her first week at RCHS Justina explained to us, “My name is Justina, but you can call me Tina. Just Tina.”
She discovered right away that the need for Safehouse has grown for veterans in recent years. Some require temporary hospitalization. They want their pets when they’re released. They just need someone to take care of them for a while.
Justina is looking at Safehouse and potential clients on a broader scale than ever before. She says the need is there, and it’s our responsibility to fill that need.
There is never a charge for the clients of the Animal Safehouse Program. All services for ASP clients are free. Our payment comes when a domestic violence victim escapes, a veteran comes to the shelter to pick up their dog, or when we reunite a pet with a family that has been going through difficult time.
For more information about the Animal Safehouse Program created by Rancho Coastal Humane Society or to make a donation log on to www.sdpets.org or call 760-753-6413. Better yet, visit RCHS at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, where Every Animal Deserves a Tomorrow. ®