LEMOORE — The NASL Fleet & Family Support Center (FFSC) Family Advocacy Program (FAP) held its 2nd annual Wiggle Waggle Walk at the Bark Park on Oct. 26 in support of Domestic Violence Prevention Month. The event encouraged families to bring their dogs dressed in costume and was designed to draw attention to the existence of domestic violence and the resources available to those in need.
The 2018 campaign “Know the Signs,” aims to help service members and their families build, maintain and strengthen their relationships and prevent domestic abuse.
“We are here if you need help, or if you know anyone who needs help,” said FFSC family advocate Alma Loza.
According to the Animal Welfare Institute, multiple studies indicate that between 49 percent and 71 percent of domestic violence victims reported that their pets were threatened, abused or killed by their partners.
FFSC family advocate Elena Avila said that pets are a barrier to many victims leaving abusive situations because they can’t bring their pets to shelters. Avila added that charities like RedRover Relief offer financial assistance and resources to pet guardians who are domestic violence survivors.
The dogs were walked around the Bark Park in silence to honor domestic violence victims.
Also in attendance were guests from Valley Animal Haven & Adoption Center and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.
Valley Animal Haven foster coordinator Sarah Westfall publicized foster opportunities for pets who are boarded at the facility.
“On average we receive and foster between 60 and 70 pets each month,” Westfall said. Westfall added that pets are sometimes fostered and then later returned to the center and there are always pets looking for forever homes.
District Attorney Investigator Perla Trejo was present with therapy dog Diamond.
“Our job is to conduct the forensic interviews with child victims, delayed adults, or victims of domestic violence. Diamond is their buddy while they tell us their story or when kids are testifying in court,” Trejo said.
The event wrapped up with a costume contest. This year’s winning costumes belonged to Devon Monet’s dachshunds, Major and Cola, who were dressed in homemade rock star and witch outfits.
FFSC has been observing Domestic Violence Prevention Month since 1981.