Purina’s Local Impact on Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence

Lydia Shelter Hero

Studies estimate more than 70 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters for victims of abuse report their abuser threatened, harmed or even killed a family pet.1

Unfortunately there exists only a small number of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters in the United States. This leaves victims with the tough decision to stay in an abusive situation to protect their pets or flee, leaving them behind. Purina, in partnership with other organizations like Urban Resource Institute (URI), is working to break down this barrier victims face when seeking help.

Creating Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelters in St. Louis

In addition to supporting URI's People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program in New York, we have also worked to bring pet-friendly domestic violence shelters to St. Louis, MO. Lydia’s House, a local women’s shelter, provides transitional housing for abused women and their children for six months up to two years. They offer a few pet-friendly units out of their 45 confidentially located, fully furnished apartments in the area.

In conjunction with Rescue Rebuild, Purina volunteers completed several pet-friendly projects at Lydia’s House on Purina’s annual PetCare Pride Day with the goal to make those spaces safer and more comfortable, both for pets and their people. The animal-friendly apartment floors were tiled, grouted and sealed to create a more walkable (and easier to clean) surface for four-legged family members. Volunteers also painted ceilings, walls and trim using pet-safe paint in shades animals find soothing.

Their work was not limited to the interior of these pet-friendly apartment units, however. Purina volunteers also converted a fenced yard into a safe and secure pet relief area. They installed a new gate and wire fencing within the existing wrought iron structure and built benches where women and children can safely sit and watch their furry companions play. Volunteers also installed waste bag dispensers to encourage proper cleanup and disposal of pet waste. In addition to the pet relief area, volunteers renovated an existing raised garden bed and built a second, so women and children can grow their own vegetables.

Supporting Shelters Across the Nation

Purina believes families are stronger and safer together, which is why we’ve adopted this initiative. When women know there’s a safe place they can bring the whole family, they’re more likely to seek help sooner, and pets and humans can help each other heal. Along with volunteering locally at Lydia’s House, Purina has also been instrumental in the creation of the nation’s first completely pet-friendly domestic violence shelter, PALS Place, in New York City. Unlike other facilities with only a small number of pet-friendly units, every unit in this 100-unit facility is pet friendly. This means men, women and children who have survived abuse can cohabitate with their four-legged family members in one of 6 different residences throughout the area.

How You Can Help

We're passionate about people and animals living safely together. To further this cause, Purina is proud to support and promote the Pets and Women Safety (PAWS) Act on Capitol Hill. The PAWS bill includes family pets in federal laws pertaining to interstate stalking, protection order violations and restitution. It also urges states to include pets under protection orders. If you want to take action, you can learn more about the PAWS Act and how to get involved here.

We believe people and pets are better together, which is why women's shelters are only one facet of Purina's mission. We're also working to bring healing with animals through our initiatives with St. Louis Children's Hospital, Petfinder.com and Rescue Bank, which you can learn more about here.

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. http://urinyc.org/uri-teams-up-with-aspca/
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