Four domestic violence shelters will soon have more resources to support abuse survivors and their pets, thanks to Purple Leash Project grants from pet care leader Purina and the nonprofit RedRover. Shelters in Leon County, Florida; Bexar County, Texas; St. Louis, and Cass County, Missouri will receive Purple Leash Project grants as part of a national effort by Purina and RedRover to help more domestic violence shelters become pet-friendly.
The lack of services and resources for domestic violence survivors with pets leads many victims – nearly half – to stay in abusive situations for fear of their pet being injured or killed should they leave. Currently only about 10 percent of domestic abuse shelters in the United States allow pets.
RedRover + Purina Purple Leash Project grants provide funding to make shelters pet-friendly and are offered on a rolling basis to domestic violence shelters, with application deadlines of May 15 and October 15 of each year. The May 2019 Purple Leash Project grant recipients are:
- Refuge House in Leon County, Florida will receive $30,000 to create an onsite kennel for dogs, indoor housing for cats, including a Catio enclosure, and an outdoor play yard for survivors to play and bond with their pets.
- Family Violence Prevention Service in Bexar County, Texas was awarded $20,000 to build a 2,000 square-feet indoor pet haven and play yard.
- Hope Haven of Cass County in Cass County, Missouri will receive $7,270 to create an outdoor run and play area for dogs.
- Lydia's House in St. Louis County, Missouri was awarded $17,120 to convert multiple apartments to be pet-friendly following the success of similar projects spearheaded by Purina volunteers from the company's St. Louis headquarters.
In addition to offering grant support for shelter upgrades, Purina and RedRover are providing trained volunteers to help with renovations, donating pet food, supplies and other resources for pet owners escaping abuse and advocating for change at a national level as members of a coalition to increase federal support for the cause. Purina has committed more than $500,000 in grant funding to support the effort.
"Pets play an important role in domestic abuse situations as both sources of emotional support for victims and sources of leverage for abusers, which creates a critical need to ensure that pets and people can escape safely and heal together," said Nina Leigh Krueger, President of Purina. "At Purina, we believe that pets and people are better together – this is especially true in situations of domestic violence. Together with RedRover, we are working to change the landscape of survivor services to ensure that all of the victims of domestic violence are cared for."
As part of the Purple Leash Project, throughout the year, Purina and RedRover also are partnering with the team at GreaterGood.org's Rescue Rebuild program to offer construction expertise and skills needed to transform the grant recipient shelters into more pet-friendly spaces. By working together, the three organizations can more holistically meet the needs of shelters as they evolve to support survivors with pets.
"Whether or not a domestic violence shelter has a pet-friendly space can be a crucial factor in a survivor's ability to leave their abuser. Our partnership with Purina on the Purple Leash Project helps to break down those barriers and effectively save more lives from abuse, and even worse," said RedRover's President and CEO, Nicole Forsyth.