Lifesaving Legislation for Wisconsin
By: Megan Senatori, Co-Founder/ President
Two companion bills (Senate Bill 97 and Assembly Bill 141) are currently before the Wisconsin Legislature. If passed,
Megan Senatori and Shannon Barry, Executive Director of DAIS,
testifying in favor of Senate Bill 97.
Wisconsin would join 28 other states that allow judges to include protections for the pets of domestic abuse victims in domestic abuse restraining orders. Research shows that up to 48% of victims delay leaving a batterer due to concern for the safety and well being of their animals. This life saving legislation would provide victims in Wisconsin with a critical tool to protect their animals when they seek safety for themselves. A special thank you to Channel 27 and Jennifer Kliese for shining a light on this important legislation in their news coverage. To view please click here.
It has been truly inspiring to work with advocates from across the state as we came together to urge legislators to pass Senate Bill 97 and Assembly Bill 141. On behalf of SAAV, I testified in favor of Senate Bill 97 before the Judiciary & Public Safety Committee and provided written testimony in favor of Assembly Bill 141 before the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Despite almost fifteen years of experience working with victims and their pets through SAAV, nothing that I said could be more impactful than the real life experience shared by Robbyn Bowman, a survivor who experienced first hand how her abuser targeted a beloved animal after the failure of the legal system to provide necessary protection. She traveled five hours to testify in support of Senate Bill 97 and shared her story of loss after her batterer killed her beloved dog, Lambeau. Robbyn's bravery in sharing her experience and heartbreaking story is an inspiration and vivid reminder of why the law needs to catch up with the challenges that victims face when trying to seek refuge from a batterer. Please take a moment to read Robbyn's story.
I am pleased to report that Senate Bill 97 unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary & Public Safety Committee and unanimously passed the Senate. The Assembly has not yet voted, so for survivors like Robbyn, please take the time to contact your Representative and urge him/her to support Wisconsin Assembly Bill 141. If you would like to view the legislation please click here.
Superstar Volunteer Spotlight-
SAAV is delighted to feature our superstar volunteer Rebecca Lynch! Rebecca has been a foster parent for the SAAV Program for the past several years. She is always enthusiastic to welcome an animal affected by domestic abuse into her home. SAAV caught up with Rebecca so that you could get to know one of our amazing volunteers and why she donates her valuable time to SAAV.
What do you do for fun?
I do crafting. I love to make scarves, hats, and fingerless gloves from looms. I just recently started to do a craft fair once a year in October. I am starting to make clothes again on my sewing machine and can't believe how much fun it is. I also am the coordinator at our community garden. It is a lot of fun to be involved in our community.
What are you passionate about? What really sparks your interest?
I love animals and am willing to help and protect them anyway I can. There are so many of them out there that need help and I wish I could help them all. I also like to help those that need emotional support. My friends are my rock so whenever I can give back support I am more than willing.
If you could live anywhere in the word where would you live?
I would love to live in Seattle. I am a rain person. The rain makes me smile. I would love to live somewhere that it rains every day.
Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day would be to wake up to a nice thunder storm, have a lovely breakfast, and then when the rain stopped, go and work in the garden for a little bit, then take some produce home and make lunch, then read a few chapters in a good book out on the patio. Watch a good movie, and take a nice nap with my cat. Then have a snack and get dinner ready.
What motivates you to work with SAAV?
I love giving back. Without SAAV there would be no one to help these animals- someone has to be there to help out. I am willing and ready to help. I am trying to get my friends and family to help too, and show them how important this program is and that there is such a need for loving homes for all kinds of animals. I learned about the link between animals and domestic violence from SAAV. I never had given it much thought before and now it makes so much sense and it is so horrible to think about. I foster animals that have been affected by domestic abuse to show them that there can be a new start.
We are excited to welcome Eric Holsinger to the SAAV team! Eric has recently taken the role of Dane County Humane Society's foster coordinator. In that role, he is now the primary contact at DCHS for foster parents volunteering for the SAAV Program. Jennifer McKay (the former foster program coordinator for DCHS) is now on the DCHS animal behavior team.
|Eric Holsinger, DCHS Foster Program Coordinator|
Eric has been with DCHS for almost two years. He was previously with the reception team, so you may recognize his friendly face. Eric graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in History. He also received a degree in education from Edgewood College. Eric has spent most of his working life in customer service and education before jumping in to animal welfare. We are really looking forward to working with Eric!
Sunday, June 14
10:00am - 4:00pm
Sure to be a scallywaggin good time! Come and join SAAV at the 2015 Mound's Dog Fest happening at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. We will have an informational booth among all of the festivities. Learn more click here.
DAIS Celebrate Independence Luncheon
Monday, June 15
11:30am - 1:30pm
This empowering event on behalf of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, raises awareness about the pervasive and far reaching effects of domestic violence in our community, while honoring the courageous journey of survivors. This year's Keynote Speaker is Victor Rivas Rivers, a former NFL player, actor, advocate, and author of "A Private Family Matter". Click here to learn more!
SAAV Foster Orientation Session
Monday, June 29
5:30- 7:30 pm
Are you, or someone you know, interested in becoming a member of our foster homes network? Please join us at the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (2102 Fordem Ave, Madison) to learn about domestic abuse, the link to animal cruelty, and how we serve victims and their animals through the SAAV Program. Pre-registration is required. Please RSVP by emailing email@example.com.
Burgers for Barks
Wednesday, August 19
Whole Foods, on University Ave. in Madison, is hosting Burgers for Barks as a fundraiser for SAAV, with live music by Sortin the Mail. More details to come!!
Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims (SAAV) is dedicated to ending the cycle of abuse within families. SAAV plays a unique role in this fight by recognizing the importance of animals as vital family members and arranging for their safe harbor at the time of critical need- when a domestic abuse victim seeks refuge from an abuser. We provide temporary, confidential shelter (the SAAV Program) for a period of up to ninety days for the animals of domestic abuse victims in Dane County who are seeking safety for themselves and their family. The SAAV Program is provided by SAAV through a generous collaboration with Domestic Abuse Intervention Services and the Dane County Humane Society. SAAV also raises community awareness in Dane County and nationally about the link between domestic violence, animal abuse and how individuals can come together to stop the cycle of abuse. SAAV is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.