Inspiration

This Group Is Helping Transform Domestic Violence Shelters To Accommodate Pets

71 percent of abused women entering shelters say their abuser also attacked their pets.

Entering a domestic violence shelter is already hard enough. Now 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 family that has endured violence in the home. Giving up the animal 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, thanks to a community-driven volunteer organization called Rescue Rebuild that’s working in partnership with 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 for pet doors connecting family rooms to kennels along with other family-friendly features.

Considering 76 percent of animal abusers also abuse family members, 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 shelters 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 have 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, visit Red Rover.