The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV) has unveiled a campaign in support of Urban Resource Institute’s (URI) People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) initiative to shelter domestic violence victims with pets.

Throughout May, in recognition of Pet Safety Awareness Month, the campaign will canvass New York City via retail outlets and grassroots distribution, with the goal of raising awareness about the services now available to victims of abuse with pets. To support this campaign, Petland Discounts will place posters on the doors of its 70 stores in the New York area and C-Town and Bravo Supermarkets will include information in its weekly store circular across all five boroughs.

“This creative private-public partnership with the Urban Resource Institute, Petland Discounts and C-Town and Bravo Supermarkets will help connect survivors with critical domestic violence services,” said Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Rosemonde Pierre-Louis. “Survivors who flee an abusive home no longer need to leave their beloved pets behind. Now, the entire family can find safety and security together in a supportive domestic violence shelter.”

Studies show that as many as 48% of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations out of fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind, and more than 70% of pet owners who enter shelter report that the abuser has threatened, injured or killed family pets. URI is the only one of NYC’s 50 domestic violence shelters that accommodates pets, filling a critical gap by addressing the unique challenges families with pets face.

“Pets are part of people’s families, and no one should have to face the impossible decision to leave a pet behind in order to flee a violent relationship,” said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of URI. “With this campaign, OCDV is taking a bold step in spreading the word about URIPALS so that we can help more New Yorkers escape abuse and rebuild their lives as a family unit.”

OCDV staff and community partners will also hand out materials and information to hundreds of commuters in neighborhoods with a high incidence of domestic violence. These outreach efforts will promote the safety of families with pets, provide information about where to get help if someone is being abused including OCDV’s New York City Family Justice Centers, and encourage people to participate on social media with the hashtag #NYCendDV.

To learn more about URIPALS and for tips on keeping the entire family safe in domestic violence situations, please visit www.urinyc.org. For help from one of OCDV’s New York City Family Justice Centers, visit www.nyc.gov/domesticviolence or call the City’s Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-4673 or 311.