Share the Shelter returns Saturday for its second year


The gang from Heritage will take the stage in the second Share the Shelter concert at Gulf Place.

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 05:03 PM.


Michelle Sperzel has heard her share of horror stories from the victims of domestic violence who seek shelter at Shelter House in Fort Walton Beach.

One of the most recent was a woman who came to the shelter who worried the whole time that her abuser would harm her animals. When she finally called home one day to check on them, while she was on the phone, her abuser fired a gun and she could hear her dogs in the background. She knew he had either wounded or killed her pets, and in a state of panic, she left the shelter.

Another woman's abuser held a hair dryer up to her cat's skin until it burned it and the cat was crying out in pain.

Another woman told of watching her puppy being beat to death with a pipe by her abuser.

"In all domestic violence, abuse of animals and humans go hand in hand," explained Sperzel, executive director of the shelter. "The first abused are the animals and abusers will use the animals to intimidate their human victim."

Some women won't leave an abusive situation because of their pets, which are like their children.

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