Friday, December 2, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on August 23rd, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 26 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 23, Issue 26

C.A.R.E.4Paws and Domestic Violence Solutions partner to provide pet care for victims leaving abusive homes

By Taylor O'Connor

Up to 40 percent of domestic violence victims report they’re unable to leave their abusers because they’re concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

“What we’ve learned is that pets are used as pawns in domestic violence situations where the abuser is using the pet as a way to control family members and prevent them from leaving or speaking up against the abuse,” Isabelle Gullo said. 

To help domestic violence survivors, C.A.R.E.4Paws and Domestic Violence Solutions partnered to create Safe Haven—a program that will take in pets belonging to people leaving violent situations—and will host a dog walk event to raise awareness and funds for the program.

As a result, the executive director and co-founder of C.A.R.E.4Paws—a Santa Barbara County nonprofit that provides several pet services—partnered with Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS) to create Safe Haven: a program that provides anonymous foster, temporary, or boarding care through C.A.R.E.4Paws, Gullo said. 

“[That way] the owners, the survivors, can leave the abusive relationship without having to worry about the safety of their pet,” she said. “With Safe Haven, people who are exposed to domestic violence can contact us directly, or contact the local shelter for help. We can take the pets in to provide foster care or boarding as long as it’s needed, that way the owner knows their pet is safe.”

The partnership with Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS) launched in January 2020; prior to Safe Haven, DVS had to turn people with pets away because they didn’t allow animals into the facilities, Gullo said. 

“It’s definitely a unique partnership. C.A.R.E.4Paws reached out in 2019 when we started realizing how big a need there was for this kind of program in our community. We were founded in 2009 [and] we keep evolving and introduce new programming to make sure we met pet care, community needs,” she added.

To highlight and raise funds for this program, C.A.R.E.4Paws and DVS are hosting a Walk Against Abuse on Sept. 18 that will have a community walk, food vendors, a photo booth, live music, activities, and a presentation about domestic violence and pet abuse, Gullo said. 

“We have a couple of people who are going to share their experience[s] and how [Safe Haven] helped them. ... In the end, they are reunited, and it’s the best feeling to see how much they missed each other and how happy they are to be together again,” she said. 

C.A.R.E.4Paws hopes to raise about $50,000, which will go toward the program for pet beds, toys, leashes, vaccines, training, spays and neuters, and veterinary care. The organization also hopes to recruit more foster families and private sponsorship because it gets expensive to board pets for long periods of time, Gullo explained.

“We wanted to host an event, because a lot of people don’t know about Safe Haven and with this event, we have the opportunity to introduce the program to more pet families—many of whom may need help from our program. We need to raise funds for the costs and recruit more foster families,” she said. “It can be a long process for the pet owners, so we stand by and we want to make sure we provide pet care for as long as they need until owner is ready.”

The Walk Against Abuse will be held Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Elings Park in Santa Barbara. Tickets are $25 per adult and $10 for children 12 and under. All proceeds go to Safe Haven’s pet care needs. For more information, visit


• Explore Santa Maria’s local wineries and tasting rooms on the Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley, a 60-minute tour that winds through Costa de Oro Winery, Amplify Wines, Old Orcutt at Broadway and Clark, and Cottonwood Canyon Winery. The trolley operates Fridays to Sundays from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., and people can step on and off at their convenience. Tickets cost $15 per person in advance and $18 per person at the trolley—which only covers the cost of transportation. Purchase tickets in advance at the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau at 614 S. Broadway or find a list of vendors at

Taylor O’Connor wrote this week’s Spotlight. You can reach her at

Weekly Poll
What do you think about a farmworker resource center in Santa Barbara County?

It's a great way to create a network of collaboration and reach people in need.
It's been needed in the county for a long time and should have been made earlier.
We don't have the funding now, but we should come up with ideas in the meantime.
We don't need it. There are plenty of resources readily available.

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