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Non-profit grant assists MSU-CVM program
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The American Kennel Club Humane Fund has awarded the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine with a grant to support the college’s Safe Haven for Pets program.
The grant will cover some of the program’s expenses in providing care to the pets of women escaping domestic violence. Dr. Sharon Fooshee Grace, the MSU-CVM clinical professor who applied for the competitive grant, administers Safe Haven for Pets along with MSU-CVM assistant clinical professor Dr. Christine Bryan.
In many capacities throughout her career, Grace, an MSU-CVM alum, became aware of the needs of women and their pets when they leave violent situations in their homes. When practicing veterinary medicine in Tennessee, Grace initiated a Pet Safe Haven program for pets of women entering a local shelter and provided care for these animals at no charge to the owners.
In 1999, Grace returned to MSU as a faculty member. She established the Safe Haven for Pets program at MSU-CVM through a partnership with Leslie Payne, director of the Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter in Meridian.
The college provides shelter and health care to the pets until the owners are able to retrieve them. While in the program’s care, animals receive needed treatments, such as vaccinations, socialization, heartworm medication, and spay or neuter surgeries. Faculty veterinarians and veterinary students care for the animals.
“There is a definite connection between domestic violence and animal cruelty and other forms of violence,” she said. “In a house with domestic violence, animals are often the first victims as the violence escalates. Concern for pets also can keep human victims in the house too long. Having a safe place for their pets may help victims escape their situations sooner.”
The American Kennel Club grant will help cover the costs of transporting the animals to the college, as well as providing them appropriate health care during their stay.
“This is a special program that touches the lives of abuse victims in a positive way,” said Jimmy Kight, MSU-CVM’s director of development. “This American Kennel Club gift will make an impact long after our students graduate, as they are getting the unique opportunity now to learn how to better serve their communities and to address animal cruelty issues.”
To learn more about Safe Haven for Pets and how to support the program, visit www.cvm.msstate.edu.
Contact: Karen Templeton, 662-325-1100