Entering a domestic violence shelter is already hard enough. NowÂ imagine having to leave your pet behind because the shelter isn't able to accommodate it. If you've ever had a pet, you know how comforting and soothing that companionship can be, especially for a familyÂ that has endured violence in the home. Giving up the animalÂ only adds more heartbreak to an already difficult situation, and of the 1,500 domestic violence shelters in the United States, only a few offer shelter for pets as well.
But now,Â thanks to a community-driven volunteer organization called Rescue Rebuild that's working inÂ partnership withÂ RedRover's Safe Housing, domestic violence shelters will be renovated to accommodate animals. They're kicking off the program in November by renovating the Emergency Support Shelter (ESS) in Longview, Washington. The changes will allow forÂ pet doors connecting family rooms to kennelsÂ along with other family-friendly features.
ConsideringÂ 76 percent of animal abusers also abuse family members,Â it's not hard to imagine that a pet left behind in a violent home would be at risk. Indeed, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 71 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence sheltersÂ say that their abusers also threatened, killed or injured family pets.
The collaboration will be issuing $6,000 grants to 10-12 shelters by the end of the year, and the organization's goal it to eventually haveÂ one pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in each state. This is great news for both pets and their owners.
For more information on the project, visitÂ Red Rover.