ACCESS to help the pets of victims


Katy Klopfenstein/Iowa State Dai

A dog available for play during Sigma Labda Gamma’s Rent-a-Puppy. The dogs at this event were available for adoption. Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS) is offering a foster program for the pets of victims of domestic violence.

Alia Mortenson

Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support is undergoing a project to include services for the pets of the victims of domestic violent situations.

ACCESS will offer foster care for animals that would usually be left behind when a victim flees from a situation of violence.

Angie Schreck, executive director of ACCESS, explained that this tends to be cause for concern for domestic violence victims. When a victim flees a situation of violence, his pets are sometimes at risk for abuse and even fatality from the abuser in the hopes of getting the victim to come back.

To prevent this, campus ACCESS representative Lori Allen said they have been working with College of Veterinary Medicine to create the means of transportation for receiving and retrieving animals and finding them temporary homes.

All animals, with the exception of exotic animals, are eligible.

“If you have 20 cats, we will do our best,” Schreck said.

According to Vet Med College, they will play a role in this program by updating the medical records of pets, as well as giving them shots, flea and tick treatments and heartworm testing.

The college is also responsible for finding and sourcing out foster homes for the animals for any period of time. If longer than six weeks of fostering is needed, Vet Med may relocate the animal to a new foster home. All foster homes are on a volunteer basis.

Schreck said the ACCESS webpage,, is currently being remodeled in order to be more user-friendly and will be including information for the pet program and how to use it.

ACCESS runs on an eligibility forum in which the client chooses when to be considered a victim. Schreck said that when the client has decided that she is a victim, she is eligible for any and all of the programs and resources offered by ACCESS. All resources are completely free to anyone and everyone in need of them.

Schreck said how the resources and programs are implemented is situationally based on whether or not the client is able to leave the situation and come to ACCESS. If a client has decided she is a victim but chooses to stay in the home one more night, they can call ACCESS to retrieve her pets and put them out of harm’s way.

ACCESS would prefer that the clients bring their pets or even themselves to their facilities to receive help. 

However, if necessary, Iowa State University Police Department and the Ames Police Department can come and retrieve clients and/or their animals.

As well as being completely free, ACCESS programs are completely confidential. The 24-hour crisis line 1-800-203-3488 is open for use 24/7, as well as their response team.

ACCESS and its resources are available to those who need and/or want them. The organization has locations in five different counties, including Story County.

Schreck said ACCESS helps everyone who believes they are a victim, including those involved in situations of domestic violence and rape. 

ACCESS also specializes in advocacy, community education and many other services in regards to domestic abuse and sexual assault. The shelter has 18 beds in Ames, which acts as a safety zone for any individual and her family in a violent or dangerous situation. The organization is open to anyone who feels she needs help escaping or solving a violent situation.

“No victim should feel that they have to stay. Ever,” Schreck said. “Every victim, their children and now even their pets can find safety with the help of ACCESS.”