When Anna Barbosa left her relationship, she also left her dog, Enrico, with her ex-partner. After she moved out, he decided he no longer wanted the pet, so Anna was looking for a temporary housing solution for the dog until she could move into a new place that allowed Enrico to live with her. In the meantime, her ex-partner, who knew that Anna wanted to keep the animal, released Enrico to the Calgary Humane Society without Anna’s knowledge.
“I wanted to keep my pet with me,” explained Anna. “I love Enrico and would have taken him with me if I could have at the time. My ex knew this would hurt me, and he gave away my dog to show me that he still had control over me even though I left. Someone out there has my dog, and I’d really just like him back.”
Anna reached out to the Calgary Humane Society to explain the situation and attempt to get Enrico back from them. But, it was too late. The dog had already been adopted by another Calgary family.
“This is a form of domestic abuse called coercive control,” explained Andrea Silverstone, Executive Director of Sagesse. “It happens in places we don’t often think about, like pet ownership, and it can leave a lasting impression of loss of control and fear. There is a family out there who has this dog. I don’t understand how this family can, in good conscience, keep a dog that they know was given away as a form of domestic violence control.”
Coercive control is a pattern of behaviour used to regulate and dominate another person’s daily life. It can take many forms, including undermining your confidence and relationships with others, limiting your ability to access money and support, and monitoring your communication and location. It can continue even after someone has left a relationship.
“Coercive control is hidden and dangerous,” said Silverstone. “Domestic violence is a complex problem that can only be addressed when everyone in the community works together to end it. Abuse thrives in silence and shadow. We encourage all organizations to expand their thinking of domestic violence to include coercive control. If the Humane Society had a more inclusive policy, this dog would not have gone to a new home.”
We would like to help Anna get her dog back. If you have adopted Enrico, he was given away without Anna’s knowledge.
If you know where Enrico is and would like to reconnect him with Anna and her daughter, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.