A women's shelter in Kansas City is changing their policy on pets after one domestic violence victim refused to give up the Great Dane that saved her from being beaten to death with a hammer.
Kansas City's KCTV reported that the Rose Brooks Center was contacted last year by a woman who said her dog jumped in front of a boyfriend as he beat her with both ends of a hammer. After the dog blocked most of the blows, the frustrated boyfriend threw both the woman and the dog out a second-story window.
The dog suffered multiple broken bones, including a broken hip and ribs.
Rose Brooks Center's chief executive officer Susan Miller said that the woman refused to leave "her angel," but the shelter had a policy against pets.
"He saved her life," Miller explained. "She was not going to leave her pet alone with him."
"Forty percent of the women will not leave their pets at home alone so they either live in their cars or find someplace else that they can live temporarily. Or, again, they stay in their home and they risk their own life and the life of their children," she added.
In one case, a woman lived in her car for four months because she could not get into a shelter that accepted pets.
The Great Dane was the first pet ever allowed to stay at the Rose Brooks Center. They are now adding 25 beds to be able to take more victims with pets.
"They provide so much comfort, and to have to leave that pet behind is so heartbreaking," Miller said. "It has become abundantly clear that the incredible therapeutic benefits that pets can have on a family greatly outweigh the cost and inconvenience of housing them."
According to Miller, 70 percent of domestic violence victims refuse to leave abusive situations because the abuser threatens their pet.
Watch this video from KCTV, broadcast Jan. 11, 2012.