Frequently Asked Questions
What does your organization's name mean?
The word ahimsa means nonviolence in Sanskrit.
How is it pronounced?
Why does Ahimsa House exist?
Ahimsa House exists to help save the animal victims of domestic violence. There are many shelters for human domestic violence victims in Georgia, but only a few accept pets. (Nationwide, fewer than 1 in 8 shelters allows pets.) Ahimsa House is the only organization in Georgia specifically focused on helping victims of violence get their pets to safety too.
Why do pets need shelter from domestic violence?
Up to 71% of victims of domestic violence report that their abusers also threatened, harmed, or killed the family pets--an effective weapon to terrorize the family and keep them silent about the abuse in their home. Abusers often threaten to harm pets if the victim tries to leave. They also harm pets left behind as a way to retaliate or to coerce the victim into returning. Concern for a beloved companion animal's welfare prevents or delays as many as 50% of battered individuals from escaping domestic abuse. Some escape but then attempt to return to a dangerous situation to reclaim pets left behind. Others escape with their pets but wind up living in their cars or on the streets because nowhere will take them in. This is an issue of both animal safety and and human safety.
Why don't people just leave their pets behind instead of risking their own safety?
To those of us who have pets and consider them part of the family, and to those who have experienced abuse, this question may seem ridiculous. However, it is a question we are often asked.
It is important to understand that for people who care deeply about their pets, this is like asking them to leave their children behind. Research shows that people's bonds with their pets provide an important form of support, particularly in times of crisis. For either children or adults in an abusive situation, their pets may be their best friends and their primary way to cope. Leaving a pet behind to face abuse, or having to give up a pet to an animal shelter to face possible euthanasia, adds yet another trauma to what these families are already enduring.
To see the stories of some of the people and animals we have helped, click here.
Who is affected by domestic violence?
Domestic violence can occur anywhere; it crosses all races, all cultures, all occupations, all ages, and all socioeconomic backgrounds. There were 54,010 reported cases of domestic violence in Georgia in 2006. Eighty-five percent of the victims of domestic violence had previously been battered by their killer. Forty-four percent of the cases where a fatality resulted occurred while children were present. You may be surprised to know that Georgia ranks 10th in the nation for its rate of men killing women. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15-44 in the United States - more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
How does Ahimsa House help?
Please see our "What We Do" page.
How is Ahimsa House funded?
Ahimsa House receives no government or United Way funding of any kind. We rely entirely on
individual donations, grants, and corporate sponsorships. We are run almost entirely on volunteer labor and receive many in-kind donations of goods and services, making us highly cost-effective.
Are you only in Atlanta?
We are based in Atlanta, but we are able to offer assistance anywhere in Georgia. Most of our foster homes are in the metro area, however, so in other parts of Georgia we usually provide boarding rather than foster care for animals in our Direct Services program.
How many people and animals do you help?
Each year, our 24-hour crisis line receives approximately 800-900 calls from counties across Georgia. Since our opening in 2004, we have provided over 29,000 nights of shelter for pets in need until their owners reached safety.
So you take in the people as well as the animals?
Since there are already shelters across Georgia where human victims of domestic violence can stay, our role is to take in the animals while their owners are staying at a shelter or other temporary no-pets-allowed situation (for example, with friends/family who are allergic or whose leases do not allow pets). We work closely with domestic violence shelters and other programs across Georgia to coordinate our services.
Do you accept only dogs and cats?
Ahimsa House recognizes that any animal a victim cares about can become a target for an abuser. We have sheltered many dogs and cats, but also birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, rats, snakes, turtles, iguanas, and horses. We have foster networks available for other types of animals as well.
Are you a nonprofit organization?
We are a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization. We are also licensed as an animal shelter through the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture.
Are you the same Ahimsa House as ______?
We are not affiliated with any other "Ahimsa" or "Ahimsa House" organizations in other locations.