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Anti-domestic violence coalition adds a surprising new member

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a new member of its team. This new individual is responsible for raising awareness about the connection between two types of violence: domestic and animal.

So it seems fitting that this latest addition to the coalition is not a human, but Darby, a lovable Golden Retriever.

“The addition of Darby allows our organization to expand its education efforts to a broader spectrum of Floridians, via social media, about the impact of domestic violence on our families, including our beloved pets,” said Tiffany Carr, president and CEO of FCADV. “Darby’s journey will raise awareness of existing programs and our new endeavors geared towards ending domestic violence.”

Bringing a cuddly pooch onto the team is certainly one way to put a positive face on a tragic epidemic, Darby’s mission won’t be all sunshine and rainbows. In addition to “sharing photos and the details of her daily life as a dog fighting against domestic violence,” Darby’s fight is a serious one.

According to the coalition, a woman is battered every 15 seconds. Worse, an average of three victims per day die at the hands of an abuser. In just one year 187 victims of domestic violence were killed. That’s 19 percent of all homicides in the state.

And, as Darby’s new roll will illustrate, those numbers have a staggering impact on our four-legged friends and other family pets.

The American Humane Association reports 71 percent of women seeking emergency shelter report their abuser had either injured, maimed, killed or threatened the family pet. Another 25-40 percent of abused women reportedly stay in abusive situations longer than they would have because they fear for the safety of their pets.

It’s hypothesized that abusers take or threaten violent action on pets to either seek revenge or to psychologically control their victims.

The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence hopes to generate additional funds to supplement efforts already underway to protect pets in abusive homes so that survivors may safely flee from their homes with their pets in tow.

Currently many of Florida’s domestic violence centers already have kennels and/or partnerships with local vets.

The coalition is the professional association representing Florida’s 42 domestic violence centers. The group also serves as the primary representative for survivors and their children when affecting public policy.

Check out Darby’s Facebook page. Not only is she on a valiant mission, she’s pretty darn cute too.

darby voilence
Image via Facebook

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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