Survivors of domestic violence often suffer in silence. It doesn’t matter if they are keeping quiet for fear of repercussions or if they believe that it could be their fault that they are being abused. Whatever the reason may be, they often keep their secret closely guarded and are afraid to reach out for help. Domestic violence shelters across the country are fighting to put an end to domestic violence through education, support groups and shelters. While most shelters will take in the whole family, the pets often get left behind in what could be a dangerous situation for them, as they become the sole outlet for abuse once the other family members have escaped. Fortunately there are pet friendly domestic violence shelters starting to appear across the country to address this long overlooked aspect of domestic violence.
The Urban Resource Institute in partnership with Purina just had it’s ribbon cutting ceremony on Manhattan’s first ever dog park in a domestic violence shelter. This allows the families to live side by side with their beloved pets while they heal and rebuild their lives. The park is located at Urban Women’s Retreat in Manhattan and is part of the URIPALS (People and Animals Living Safely) program. This is the only program of it’s kind in New York City and one the few that allows families to stay with their beloved furry family members across the entire nation.
To date, URIPALS has helped over 40 families with over 60 pets, including 38 cats, 18 dogs and a range of other smaller family members such as fish and reptiles escape domestic violence and start the healing process. The Purina Play Haven, sponsored by and built by Purina, offers survivors a safe stress free retreat while they heal together in shelter. The addition of this facility by Purina is building upon it’s support for the PALS program. In 2014 Purina sponsored the building of the Purina Play Haven at URI’s Safe Haven Shelter in Brooklyn, the first ever dog park at a domestic violence shelter in New York City. Since it’s inception the Safe Haven Shelter has become a vital component in helping families heal together with their pets. Purina also donates a healthy amount food for all kinds of pets, as well as toys, supplies and welcome kits for families bringing their pets to the Urban Retreat Center to ease the transition into their healing together.
Do you know anyone who has been separated from their beloved pets to escape domestic violence?