A safe place for pets

One of the Yukon's animal welfare groups is looking to help the pets of women fleeing domestic violence. Jordi Mikeli-Jones is the founder of Kona's Coalition.

One of the Yukon’s animal welfare groups is looking to help the pets of women fleeing domestic violence.

Jordi Mikeli-Jones is the founder of Kona’s Coalition. Since 2013 the non-profit has been providing grants to owners who can’t afford medical care for their pets.

Mikeli-Jones said helping women involved in domestic violence has always been on the long-term list of goals.

“In the back of my mind, even before I started the coalition, it was something close to my heart. I was aware that it’s not existent, the support for low-income people or people who are suffering in homes where there’s domestic violence.”

The idea is to create a safe haven where pets can be cared for in foster homes while the women are escaping an abusive home.

Earlier this month, the Yukon government’s Crime Prevention and Victim Services Trust Fund announced it was giving a $5,000 grant to the group.

Most women’s shelters, including the one in Whitehorse, do not allow pets.

A report by the Alberta SPCA in 2012 found that deciding to leave a violent situation is harder when there are animals involved.

According to the report, nearly 60 per cent of the women who answered the question said they delayed leaving because they knew they would be leaving their animal in an unsafe situation.

Charlotte Hrenchuk, co-ordinator of the Yukon Status of Women Council, said she’s heard similar stories from victims in the Yukon.

“I know of quite a few stories where women have stayed because the partner has threatened to kill the pet or severely abuse the pet if the women were to leave,” she said.

“Sometimes that pet is the only comfort and joy in the woman’s life and to think that something would happen to their pet is intolerable.”

Hrenchuk said this program, once it’s up and running, is something she would support.

Similar safe haven organizations exist across Canada. Mikeli-Jones said 40 states in the U.S. also offer some sort of program.

The Yukon group is still in its infancy. No firm start date has been set.

They’re busy right now building the required infrastructure, Mikeli-Jones said. That includes recruiting potential foster families, creating an advisory committee and reaching out to RCMP, bylaw, victim services, Kaushee’s Place and other community groups that might be connected to women in need.

The details are still being worked out, but Mikeli-Jones is hoping that front-line workers who deal with women fleeing violence will soon ask if there are any animals in the house. Then Kona’s coalition would be called and a drop-off organized.

“Basically we want to provide confidential foster care services for up to 30 days. At the end of the period we could renew the agreement if it is deemed necessary and if the foster care provider is agreeable to it,” she said.

The fostering would be completely anonymous, Mikeli-Jones said. The temporary caregivers would have no idea where the animal came from and the person who hands them over won’t know where the pet goes.

Potential foster patents will be screened with background checks and home visits. They’ll also get training on topics like confidentiality, and aggressive behaviour specific to animals that come from violent homes, she said.

The coalition is now seeking people willing to foster the animals.

More information is on the organization’s website at www.konascoalition.org

Contact Ashley Joannou at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted


Wyatt’s World for Dec. 4, 2020

Dawson City’s BHB Storage facility experienced a break-and-enter last month, according to Yukon RCMP. (File photo)
Storage lockers damaged, items stolen in Dawson City

BHB Storage facility victim to second Dawson City break-and-enter last month

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new councillor in a byelection held Dec. 3. (Wikimedia Commons)
Watson Lake elects new councillor

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new… Continue reading

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Most Read