VALDOSTA – Family violence and pet abuse are closely related, according to The Haven.

The agency – which assists people who’ve been sexually or domestically abused – seeks to highlight awareness of the connection.

“Out of the known cases of animal abuse, in 89 percent there was also a child being abused at home which is very high,” said Taylor Strickland, community awareness and education coordinator.

She said statistics indicate people who are abused don’t escape their situations out of protection for their pets.

“Forty-eight percent of survivors delay leaving situations for fear their pets will be killed when they leave,” Strickland said.

To further its mission of highlighting the link, The Haven sponsors the Walking Paws for a Cause 5K 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at Freedom Park. Registration is 7:30 a.m.

Representatives from the Ahimsa House will be present providing information.

The Ahimsa House is an Atlanta shelter that The Haven partners with to house pets for residents dealing with domestic violence, Strickland said.

The shelter will care for the pet while the residents leave their situation and get on their feet. The Ahimsa House will get the pets spayed, neutered and vaccinated, if needed.

More vendors and participants are needed for the 5K. There is no cost.

Participant age groups are as follows: Chihuahuas (younger than 9 years old); poodles (10-14 years old); Labradors (15-18 years old); Golden Retrievers (19-39 years old); Dalmatians (40-59 years old); and Greyhounds (age 60 and older).

Awards will be given to the overall male, overall female, top male and top female winners.

Dogs attending must be on leashes. Strickland said The Haven will have extra leashes, if needed.

Water will be provided. Pre-registration is required for T-shirts.

More information: sarcadvocate@valdostahaven.org, (229) 539-2275 and valdostahaven.org

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