Neighbor: Ahimsa House
Operators: Maya Gupta & Myra Rasnick
Neighborhood: East Decatur Station
Ahimsa house is an organization dedicated to saving animal victims of domestic violence. At first mention, it may seem like this 501 (c)(3) non-profit has its priorities confused. What about the human victims? The empirical truth, however, shows that Ahimsa House is a rare, effective and essential contributor to the safety of all sufferers of domestic violence, whether human or animal.
With only 12% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. allowing pets, victims seeking haven are forced into tough decisions; too often the question boils down to “me or the pet?”Â Perpetrators use family pets as coercive tools to intimidate, silence and maintain control over their human victims.Â Emily Christie, founder of Ahimsa House, knew this awful dilemma and wanted to ensure that others would not need to face it.
Ahimsa House offers asylum to the pets of domestic violence victims all over Georgia. The organization works closely with veterinarians, boarding facilities and foster homes to give all types of animals-cats, dogs, tortoises, snakes, even chickens a caring, temporary home and any necessary medical treatment.Â Maya Gupta, PhD., the Executive Director, and Myra Rasnick, the Programs Service Coordinator, recently opened the first administrative office in Decatur.Â The new office is conveniently close to the Dearborn Animal Hospital, and the animal-friendly complex means that the office can host a dog or cat in a pinch.
Though Ahimsa House was named “Rescue Organization of the Year” by Pedigree in 2005, Dr. Gupta and Ms. Rasnick agree that they are proudest of their everyday work.Â Ms. Rasnick describes a particular reunion,
“[The dog] jumped in the backseat and licked the two-year-old baby’s face, who was laughing. The mom was crying, I was crying . . . the dog was clearly part of the family.Â That keeps me going everyday. Those moments happen on a regular basis.”Â Since 2004, Ahimsa House has provided over 18,000 nights of refuge for Georgia’s pets.