The Purple Leash Project was born out of the Purina mission to bring and keep pets and people together and the RedRover® mission to bring animals and their owners from crisis to care.
The purple leash serves as a visible symbol of an invisible struggle for domestic abuse victims and their pets. Purple represents domestic violence awareness, and the leash symbolizes the unbreakable bond between pets and their owners.
The Purple Leash Project began nearly seven years ago when one of our associates read about the difficult decision that many domestic violence survivors with pets were being forced to make. It didn’t seem fair that pets, who may be the only source of unconditional love and support for a victim, weren’t being considered when it came to sheltering survivors. So we decided to help.
Since that time, Purina has helped one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the U.S. on its journey to become a leading voice and shining example of pet-friendly sheltering. We also helped found the PAWS Act Coalition in support of the Pets and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which helps domestic abuse victims and their pets by advocating for federal resources dedicated to this cause.
Through the Purple Leash Project, together with RedRover and other allies, we continue to advocate for change and serve the needs of survivors and their pets by awarding grants to help domestic violence shelters become pet-friendly, engaging volunteers to help with the transformations and offering support for survivors with pets as new opportunities arise.
Today, our goal is for 25% of U.S. domestic violence shelters to become pet-friendly by the end of 2025. But our long-term goal is to fundamentally change the landscape of domestic violence services for survivors with pets.
The PAWS Act was passed in 2018. Now Purina and other members of the PAWS Act Coalition are continuing efforts to lobby for federal funding and additional support on Capitol Hill.
Our volunteers have dedicated more than 1,500 hours renovating shelters, such as Lydia’s House in Missouri and Safe Voices in Maine, to make them pet-friendly havens.
So far, we’ve awarded grants to nine domestic violence shelters throughout the country to help them make the transition to welcoming pets.
Hawaii and Rhode Island—just two states to go, and we’ll achieve our goal of a pet-friendly shelter in every state. From there, we’ll expand our goal to have a larger impact on the overall domestic violence services landscape.