CASDA Officially Launches Pet Foster Program

Donations and Foster Families Needed as Program Launches, Gains Popularity

DULUTH, Minn. – On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by a partner in the United States, according to the National Center Against Domestic Violence.

Officials say it can be difficult to escape an abuser, especially when animals are involved.

However, a new program at The Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA) in Superior is looking to ease the heartbreak.

“When I was a kid, I lost one of my best childhood friends to domestic violence,” said Shawna Weaver, Program Coordinator.

Ever since, Weaver’s passion for helping people in violent situations has grown.

“She was shot by her father when she was 13,” said Weaver.

This tragedy, teaching Weaver to help others in life.

“We know that about 50 percent of all domestic violence victims struggle with a barrier of what to do with their pet,” said Weaver.

She works as Humane Education Manager at Animal Allies, but now Weaver is also working on a new project, helping women, men and children in dangerously violent situations.

“Animal Allies has served as consultants on how to do foster care and how to set up programs like this so it’s sustainable and strong,” said Weaver.

Often time, Weaver has found victims of domestic abuse are forced to leave their animal behind or surrender them to a shelter.

With Twin Ports Pet Safe Housing, CASDA will now be finding foster homes for pets while survivors figure out a place to be safe.

“Every month we receive several calls either at Animal Allies or through shelters like CASDA asking for help to find something to do with their pets,” said Weaver.

She says locating housing in the Twin Ports that allows pets can be extremely difficult. With the new program, an animal can remain in foster care for up to two months, giving the individual time to get back on their feet in a safer situation.

“For many people, especially women and children that are the majority of victims of domestic violence, their pet can be their only friend that the abuser has allowed them to maintain,” said Weaver.

College of St. Scholastica junior Hannah Geiger is working her way toward a degree in Marketing and Management while helping Weaver fundraise for the new program.

“She came to me with her idea about this program,” said Geiger. “We had to think of a way to raise money that didn’t really depend completely on a grant.”

Instructor Weaver came to Geiger with the idea that would eventually turn into an internship. The two now work side by side in the search for more animal foster families.

“It’s hard to find professors who can really expand your dreams and let you follow your own path,” said Geiger.

A win for Weaver in the fight against domestic violence.

“The best thing to do is to call CASDA and get the resources from them,” said Weaver.

Weaver and her team are looking for people to help with transportation of the animals.

If you’re interested in fostering or donating to the program, contact Shawna Weaver at sweaver2@css.edu or click here to contact CASDA.

Click here to donate to Twin Ports Pet Safe Housing GoFundMe.

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