Nation’s First Fully Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelter Opens in NYC

NYC Shelter Hero

There are less than 3,000 shelters1 throughout the United States for abused women, men and children, and only 3 percent are considered pet-friendly domestic violence shelters2.

Because more than 70 percent of women entering these shelters report a family pet was threatened, harmed or killed by their abusers,3 this creates a significant barrier for victims seeking help but wanting to save their four-legged family members. While some of these partially pet-friendly facilities can protect victims and their pets, their limitations often mean animals and their humans are safe but living in separate spaces. Urban Resource Institute is changing that by opening the nation's first completely pet-friendly domestic violence shelter with support from Purina.

Limitations of Existing Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelters

Not all domestic violence facilities that permit pets are truly pet-friendly. Instead, they provide women and men with resources by partnering with local animal clinics or foster programs to care for the animals. Other facilities have limited space for pets and can only accommodate one or two at a time. While these options allow victims and pets to escape abuse, they miss the opportunity to tap into the power of the human-pet bond with a co-living environment conducive to healing.

Urban Resource Institute & Purina Lifting Limitations

Since 2013, Urban Resource Institute (URI) has worked to ensure survivors of domestic violence and their pets can stay together when seeking shelter. In partnership with URI’s People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program, Purina has helped 5 facilities throughout New York City shelter both victims and their pets by providing much-needed resources like food, leashes, litter, water bowls and more. These critical supplies help people and pets smoothly transition to a healthier, safer environment together after leaving their difficult situation.

First Co-Living Space in the Nation

To break down this barrier in seeking help and to ensure families aren’t turned away because of a pet, Urban Resource Institute is opening the nation’s first co-living shelter in Brooklyn with Purina’s support. Opening in October 2018, PALS Place will embody a truly pet-friendly domestic violence shelter, where abused women, men, children and their beloved four-legged family members can cohabitate in the same apartment units. Not only does this provide victims with a sense of normalcy during this traumatic time, but the presence of animals also promotes healing.

Purina’s animal behaviorists provided guidance to ensure PALS place was designed with pets’ welfare in mind. In addition to the assistance through the preparation stages, Purina will continue to support the facility by providing residents with critical pet supplies they may have had to leave behind, such as food, treats, leashes and water bowls. To encourage exercise, play and bonding vital to pets’ health during times of stress, Purina also sponsored an on-site “Purina Pet Haven” featuring artificial turf and play equipment in a safe environment.

Purina’s Impact on Local Women’s Shelter

The goal is to create more co-living shelters across the nation, and Purina and our associates know change starts at home, which is why we have supported this initiative on a local level. Lydia’s House, a women’s shelter in St. Louis that provides transitional housing for victims, is welcoming more pets thanks to volunteers from Purina.

Get Involved

The Pets and Women Safety (PAWS) Act aims to include family pets in federal laws regarding interstate stalking, protection order violations and restitution. The bill also encourages states to include pets under protection orders. You can learn more about the PAWS Act and contact your legislators here.  

Purina believes life is better with pets. Click here to learn more about how we're connecting pets and people through our initiatives with St. Louis Children's Hospital, Petfinder.com and Rescue Bank.

If you or someone you love is being abused by a spouse or partner, call the Domestic Violence hotline 24/7 for support and resources: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) Bilingual advocates are available.

 

Sources:
  1. https://www.domesticshelters.org/domestic-violence-reports-and-rankings/domestic-violence-service-score-by-state
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2018/06/15/little-by-little-domestic-violence-shelters-become-pet-friendly/?utm_term=.6c9cc411ab01
  3. http://urinyc.org/uri-teams-up-with-aspca/
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