Pets are a member of the family and taking care of and loving them can be a real driving force. No surprisingly then, pets can often be a contributing factor to why people in domestic violence situations stay. In 71% of cases reported survivors stated that their abusers threatened, harmed or killed their pets according to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Given this harsh reality, sadly only 3% of domestic violence shelters welcome pets along with survivors. This unfortunately leaves survivors who are already in high stakes situations with another difficult choice, to leave their pet or stay in abuse.
Purina recognized this critical need and partnered with the Urban Resource Institute to create the People and Animals Living Safely Place (PALS), a seven-story pet friendly domestic violence shelter in Brooklyn, NY. It is the largest domestic violence that allows animal in the United States and it is the only such shelter in New York City. The seven stories feature 30 apartments, which can house a combined total of up to 100 people, allowing for whole families to heal, pets included.
With help from Purina animal behaviorists, the shelter has been built with pets in mind and to allow the pet family to be as comfortable and adjusted as possible. Constructed within PALS place is the Purina Pet Haven, an artificial turf play area featuring a range of play equipment and a safe environment. Purina also donates supplies such as food, treats, leashes and water bowls. Structure and play for the whole family is the goal at PALS Place.
The importance of pet friendly domestic violence shelters cannot be understated. PALS is an innovative co-sheltering model, saving lives of pets and people escaping domestic violence in New York City. With increased awareness and additional partners, hopefully the PALS model is replicated nationally. Domestic violence shelters are recognizing the need for pets and people to stay together.