Connecticut’s First Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelter
A recent victory for domestic violence survivors everywhere was gained this year: Connecticut opened the first ever pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in the state! Connecticut now makes 40 states across the country offering accommodations for both domestic violence survivors and their furry friends. This revolutionary facility, Safe Futures, is only the second facility across the entire northeast that allows pets to join their owners in the shelters. While there is much room for improvement in the acceptance of animals into these facilities, Safe Futures are setting the example for other shelters, all while helping survivors and their pets find peace.
The Connecticut facility received a $15,000 grant from RedRover, an organization motivated by maintaining the wellbeing of all animals, including keeping them with their owners through the struggles of leaving a violent household. With this grant, Safe Futures is able to make their facilities safe and livable for not only the survivors, but for their animals as well. With these new pet-friendly measures being taken, Safe Futures reports survivors staying longer in their facilities and, in turn, decreasing the likelihood of them returning to their abusive homes.
While a huge step in the right direction and a victory for Connecticut, there are still many more shelters that could be converted in pet-friendly facilities. While more shelters (hopefully) convert to animal-friendly environments, PetsEmpower can assist in the meantime by providing temporary foster care for pets as their owners escape situations of domestic violence. This crucial service enables survivors to leave their dangerous homes without the guilt or fear of leaving their beloved pets behind while they transition into a shelter that may or may not accept pets. PetsEmpower creates an incredible middle ground as all shelters slowly realize the impact they have by creating environments that can accommodate not only survivors, but their furry best friends as well.
Safe Futures’ move to being a pet-friendly shelter has seemed to encourage others to follow suit; the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) is working vigilantly with other shelters across the state to make a similar change, as the positive impact this one pet-friendly shelter has had on survivors and their situations is palpable. While this transition and encouragement to make similar changes continues, we at PetsEmpower provide peace of mind for survivors who not only want what is best for themselves, but for their animals as well. Whether it is PetsEmpower, Safe Futures, or RedRover, getting involved and spreading awareness of the importance of keeping domestic violence survivors and their pets together is key in continuing this critical conversation and, ultimately, invoking positive change.