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Women with pets who are striving to escape abusive relationships will be supported with a grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada.

The $20,000 grant to the Lincoln County Humane Society is designed to provide boarding for pets of victims of domestic violence.

The humane society said studies have shown that women are more likely to delay or avoid leaving an abusive relationship out of fear that harm may come to their animals, but most women’s shelters aren’t equipped to take pets.

The pet boarding service will be provided on a referral basis from Gillian’s Place and YWCA. The money is expected to help about 50 women.

This grant will increase the number of women that will be helped and allow longer stays for pets at the shelter from 20 days to 30 days free of charge.

“All too often, pets are the only source of comfort and security that these victims have, and even worse, are used as hostages to keep victims in a dangerous situation,” said David Haworth, president of PetSmart Charities of Canada.

“We’re proud to support this pilot project led by the Lincoln County Humane Society and we hope it will help women and their pets to feel safe and supported as they seek a safe harbour from abuse.”