Safepet Foster Program


Through partnership, we’ve joined a movement toward a humane society.

For those experiencing domestic violence, having a pet can sometimes make their situation more complicated and concerning. No Toronto-area Violence Against Women shelters currently allow pets, and for many survivors, leaving their pet behind with their abuser is not an option.

According to a recent University of Windsor study[1], nearly 90 percent of women staying at the surveyed Violence Against Women shelters said that their partner also abused their pet; 56 percent of these women delayed leaving an abusive relationship due to fear for their pet’s safety.

Thanks to the efforts of activists and advocacy groups, there are now programs like SafePet that provide temporary care for the pets of those fleeing situations of domestic violence. Originally created in 2003 by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (in partnership with the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses), the SafePet program arranges foster care for the duration of the pet owner’s stay at a Toronto-area Violence Against Women shelter. The OVMA re-launched their program in 2013, and they provide guidance to local shelters and veterinarians who are interested in this aspect of sheltering.

With this in mind Toronto Humane Society has received a $35,000 grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada, one of the nation’s leading funders of animal welfare. With this grant, the Toronto Humane Society can now join others in helping victims of domestic abuse and their pets find safety sooner via a new initiative with Link T.O. – THS Community Partner Program. Soon, our large and experienced network of foster parents will be available to survivors of domestic violence while they seek help at a Toronto-area shelter. We will also be providing veterinary care for SafePet animals, to keep them healthy and happy while they are with their foster families.

Link Coalition Toronto, a non-profit serving Toronto and the GTA, began their SafePet program in 2017 after identifying a need for such a program in our city. They work with numerous Violence Against Women shelters in the area, providing pet fostering services for women seeking shelter. Link T.O. also educates about the “link” among four types of family violence: child abuse, animal abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse.

This partnership marks a significant step forward for Toronto Humane Society as we continue to expand our services to build a humane society. We are honoured to be working with Link Coalition Toronto, and look forward to what this new and exciting partnership will bring!

View the latest Toronto Humane Society Press Release

Petsmart Charity of Canada Badge of Approval


COVID-19 Update: Toronto Humane Society is currently open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Sunday. We encourage you to visit our service webpages for updates and/or new safety protocols that have been put in place. We are currently still closed for animal viewing at this time, we apologize for this inconvenience.