As the pandemic continues, so does the urgent need for more resources for survivors of domestic abuse. This October, during National Domestic Violence Awareness month, Purina and the nonprofit RedRover are amplifying their year-round efforts to shine a light on an area of domestic violence that often goes under-reported–the unique challenges faced by survivors with pets. Journalist and talk show host, Tamron Hall, has once again partnered with Purina to support the Purple Leash Project–a national initiative established by Purina and RedRover to provide services and support for domestic abuse survivors with pets who often struggle to find pet-friendly sheltering options.
In domestic violence situations, many survivors are isolated from family, friends and loved ones by their abusers who use a variety of tactics to manipulate them beyond, but including, physical violence. The pandemic has only exacerbated this reality as people continue to practice social distancing and return-to-office plans are further delayed.
"It's important to understand that domestic abuse expands beyond physical violence, abusers often use pets as leverage," said Nicole Forsyth, president and CEO of RedRover.
For victims with pets, their four-legged friends are often a primary source of emotional support and companionship, which can also make pets a target for abuse in the household. In fact, more than 70% of women in domestic violence shelters report their abuser threatened, injured or killed a pet as a means of control. Because only 15% of domestic violence shelters in the US allow pets, almost half of all abuse survivors (48%) will delay leaving their abuser if they can't take their pet with them into the shelter.
"Everything we stand for at Purina is built on the unwavering belief that pets and people are better together, and for domestic abuse survivors, pets are a lifeline," said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and president of Purina. "Through the Purple Leash Project, we're working alongside RedRover to protect the bond between survivors and their beloved pets in hopes of saving lives."
Sharing Hope and Inspiring Advocacy
Journalist, talk show host and lifelong pet lover, Tamron Hall, knows first-hand the urgency around increasing the number of resources for survivors. Her beloved sister Renate experienced bouts of abuse that ultimately resulted in her tragic death, a crime for which her abuser was never charged. Hall chooses to honor her sister's memory by speaking out about the prevalence of domestic violence and the need for empathy, awareness and action.
"The data around domestic violence is startling and so close to home for me, with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime," said Hall. "The fact that so many survivors stay in a dangerous situation rather than leave their pet behind is devastating and shows the power of the human pet bond. I'm proud to partner with the Purple Leash Project to advocate for survivors and help bring people and pets from crisis to care."
In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness month, Purina and RedRover encourage fellow pet lovers to join Tamron to amplify the social conversation online and support the Purple Leash Project.
25 Percent by 2025
Since establishing the Purple Leash Project in 2019, Purina has donated more than $1 million in funding to support survivors with pets, which includes providing grants with its partner, RedRover, for shelters to complete pet-friendly renovations. In 2021 alone, 10 Purple Leash Project grants have been announced, contributing to the goal that at least 25% of domestic violence shelters are pet-friendly by 2025.
For shelters that receive grants, funding goes towards shelter renovations including installing indoor and outdoor pet havens or play yards, creating privacy screens around outdoor pet play yards, building indoor cat bridges to foster play and exercise for cats and even converting existing apartment spaces to be pet-friendly.
Purina pet experts and volunteers from Purina and RedRover have dedicated more than 1,500 hours to renovating shelters nationwide. Purina also continues to advocate for federal resources and funding to support the creation of pet-friendly shelters as a founding member of the PAWS Act Coalition.
To learn more about the Purple Leash Project, make a donation or sign up for ongoing updates, visit PurpleLeashProject.com.
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