Yukon charity shelters pets when owners escape domestic violence

A charity in Whitehorse is being recognized for its innovative work. Kona's Coalition provides pets with places to stay when their owners are in crisis. This includes people escaping domestic violence.

City of Whitehorse names founder Volunteer of the Year

"I get hugs, I get tears, it's hugely fulfilling," says Whitehorse's Volunteer of the Year, Jordi Mikeli-Jones. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

When escaping domestic violence, a person faces worries and stress in all directions. Will they be safe? Where will they stay? Who will they tell?

There's also another question: Who takes care of the dog or cat?

Jordi Mikeli-Jones advocates for animals and is the founder of Kona's Coalition in Whitehorse. She says that last question is an important one, as worries about the family pet could make someone hesitate before getting to safety. 

Kona's Coalition provides animals with places to stay when their owners are in crisis. The group also provides emergency grants to low-income people for veterinary bills.

Mikeli-Jones says these grants have added up to more than $70,000 in the last three years alone.

 "To think of the animals we've been able to help as well as families, it gives me a sense of pride," she says. 

Volunteer of the Year 

Mikeli-Jones was recognised earlier this week as the City of Whitehorse's Volunteer of the Year.

She says her group is looking to start a youth program as well as improve Yukon's spay-and-neuter program. This year, Kona's Coalition has run poster campaigns looking for information to help solve cases of animal abuse in Whitehorse.

Kona's Coalition has also held several fundraisers, including costume dances, electronic, rap and rock concerts and fashion shows.

"I am really passionate about animals and I think a lot of the fundraising has centred around music," says Mikeli-Jones. "It's easy because at the end of the day I have the reward of knowing we helped the animals. I get hugs, I get tears. It's hugely fulfilling."