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06/12/2013

Yay: NYC gets its first pet-friendly domestic violence shelter!  »

Read Jasmine’s story on HuffPo

This is wonderful news. NYC is starting a pilot program to let domestic violence survivors and their pets stay in a shelter together. As I’ve read many times, whether they are trying to defend their owner from the abuser or just abused to hurt or manipulate the owner, pets are very often co-victims in domestic violence situations. So much so that many victims of domestic violence will stay in the abusive situation for fear of what would happen to their pet. 

The program is a partnership between the Urban Research Institute and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals

National data show that more than 40% of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations out of fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind. Plus, more than 70% of pet owners who enter shelter report that the abuser has threatened, injured or killed family pets.(*) Yet in New York City—the largest provider of domestic violence services in the country with more than 50 shelters—not one shelter currently allows pets in residence, until now.

URI is filling this critical gap by becoming the first organization in New York City—and one of few nationwide—to welcome pets into domestic violence shelters. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals will be working closely with URI to provide staff training, pet safety education, pet food and supplies, and foster solutions for any pets PALS may be unable to accommodate.

Right now the program is only accepting cats and small animals like hamsters but they also work to find foster homes for other animals (here’s a great example about a cute pup who was fostered until his family found a safe situation). 

The Mayor’s Alliance has more info about families with pets in crisis situations.

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