As domestic violence incidences rise during the pandemic, this October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Purina and RedRover are continuing their work to help survivors escape abuse with their pets by enlisting the help of friends to shine a light on the challenges that victims of abuse with pets too often face. Journalist and talk show host Tamron Hall and Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale are lending their voices as advocates for the Purple Leash Project – a national initiative founded by Purina and the nonprofit RedRover to provide more resources and support for domestic violence survivors with pets.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Purina and RedRover are asking fellow pet lovers to join the Purple Leash Project to shine a light on the challenges that victims of abuse with pets too often face.
One in three women and one in four men will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime. The Purple Leash Project is working to ensure that survivors with pets have more pet-friendly places to go when leaving abuse behind.
Since the Purple Leash Project was introduced last year, 15 Purina + RedRover Purple Leash Project grants have been awarded to domestic violence shelters across the U.S. totaling more than $230,000 in support to create pet-friendly housing for survivors with pets.
Tamron Hall, journalist and dog mom to May Luv, has a personal connection to domestic violence and is partnering with Purina and RedRover to raise awareness about the lack of pet-friendly shelters in the U.S.
Actress Lucy Hale has been an outspoken advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. “It’s critical that victims have a safe place to go with their pets so they can be together during this difficult time,” said Hale.
The sobering reality for many survivors is that the love they have for their pets is used against them by abusers. In fact, 70 percent of women in domestic violence shelters report their abuser threatened, injured or killed a pet as a means of control. But because as few as 10 percent of U.S. domestic violence shelters allow pets, nearly half of victims will delay leaving their abuser in an effort to protect their pet from the inherent danger of being left behind.
"The bond we share with our pets is unbreakable, but for women and men suffering from domestic violence, abusers will often use pets to threaten and manipulate their victims," said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Purina. "That's why it's critical to pave a way for survivors to leave abuse with their pets in tow, to protect the bond they share and begin the healing process together."
CLOSE TO HOME
Sadly, domestic abuse impacts the lives of many Americans, with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men suffering abuse in their lifetimes. For journalist and talk show host Tamron Hall, whose sister was tragically killed by her abuser, domestic violence had a life-changing impact on her family. Hall, a lifelong pet lover, has been a longstanding and outspoken champion for survivors who passionately uses her platform to advocate for change.
"The thought of survivors of domestic violence forced to leave pets behind because shelters are not equipped to take them in is a heartbreaking reality not talked about enough," said Hall. "I'm proud to be partnering with the Purple Leash Project and lending my voice to increase awareness and help eradicate this issue. Together, we can help ease one of the many burdens that victims have to shoulder."
Actress Lucy Hale also is joining the effort. An outspoken advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault, Hale has been on a mission to give a voice to the voiceless having experienced assault firsthand. For Hale, the reality that pets are also impacted by domestic violence was eye-opening.
"I can't imagine having to face the dilemma of staying in a dangerous situation or leaving my dog Elvis in harm's way. This is a heartbreaking situation for someone to be in, on top of the abuse they have already endured," said Hale. "When I learned Purina and RedRover were creating safe havens to keep victims and their pets together, I knew it was a cause I wanted to help champion."
Throughout October, Purina and RedRover are inviting others to champion the Purple Leash Project cause in two ways:
Since founding the Purple Leash Project in 2019, Purina is nearing a $1 million commitment to increase the number of pet-friendly shelters in the United States and fund other efforts to support survivors with pets. Purina behaviorists and designers, along with hundreds of 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.
By Lindsay Beaton
This country is straddling the line between developing and developed as more of its citizens see the value in pet ownership.
By Lindsay Beaton