Renovation Enables Local Shelter to House Pets with Survivors of Abuse

Tallahassee, Fla (April 8, 2019) –  Safe Haven, a Signature Program of, is teaming up with RedRover and Purina to help domestic violence shelter Refuge House in Tallahassee, Fla. become pet-friendly. Safe Haven strives to provide pet-friendly housing options for at-risk people requiring either temporary emergency or long-term transitional housing with their furry family member. With support from a Purple Leash Project grant from RedRover and Purina to help fund the renovation, the Refuge House will be able welcome both human and pet survivors allowing them to escape abusive situations and heal together.

“The human-animal bond is never more evident than when I think about 50 percent of women delay leaving abusive situations for fear of leaving their pet behind,” said Bryna Donnelly, Director of Safe Haven. “Anything that Safe Haven can do to keep people and pets together is both extremely exciting and rewarding.”

To support Refuge House launching a brand new pet program, Safe Haven and RedRover will work to make pet-friendly renovations that will allow residents of the shelter to keep their families together, including those with four furry legs as they escape and recover from abuse. Renovations include construction of indoor/outdoor dog kennels with shading, an indoor dog visitation space, a cat room and cat condos, a catio (outdoor enclosed cat space) and a doggie play yard with privacy spacing to separate children and pets.

RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth said, “While one in three women are victims of domestic abuse, only approximately 10 percent of domestic violence shelters house pets onsite with survivors. Through our Purple Leash Project partnership with Purina, it’s our goal to break down these barriers and have a pet-friendly shelter in every state. We are grateful to work alongside Safe Haven to help make this goal a reality.”

Introduced earlier this year, the Purina + RedRover Purple Leash Project is an effort by Purina and RedRover to make more domestic violence shelters across the country pet-friendly and change the landscape of domestic violence services for victims with pets. Purina is committing more than $500,000 over the next four years to establish Purple Leash Project grants to provide funding and resources to transform domestic violence emergency shelters into safe spaces for survivors with pets. In addition to the renovation work spearheaded by and RedRover, Purina will offer Refuge House a donation of dog and cat food and litter to help ensure four-legged residents have consistent high-quality nutrition to help the transition as smooth and healthy as possible.

Refuge House Executive Director Meg Baldwin is grateful to Safe Haven and Red Rover for their essential support for the project.  “Safe Haven and RedRover bring a real team approach to making this dream come true for all of us–survivors, their pets, and Refuge House. The hands-on expertise, funding support, and knowledge about shelter operations—they bring it all.”

This project will make a big impact.  Refuge House serves the largest area of any domestic violence center in the state of Florida, covering eight counties and assisting over 6,000 people a year in all programs.

To learn more about Safe Haven and its partners, email To find out more about the Purina + RedRover Purple Leash Project, visit

About Safe Haven

Safe Haven, a Signature Program of, strives to provide pet-friendly housing options for at-risk people requiring either temporary emergency or long-term transitional housing with their furry family member. The areas of focus include Domestic Violence Shelters, Homeless Shelters, and Veteran Housing options.

About is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that works to improve the health and well-being of people, pets, and the planet. Over the last 10 years, has given over $175 million in cash and in-kind grants to over 5,000 charitable partners worldwide and created and operates several Signature Programs. To learn more, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

About RedRover

Since 1987, RedRover has focused on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the human-animal bond through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and humane education. Through their RedRover Relief program, they have helped thousands of animals and provided thousands of safe nights across the United States. With more than 4,000 trained volunteers in the United States and Canada, RedRover can deploy its volunteers quickly when communities become overburdened by a crisis involving large numbers of animals or to help a domestic violence shelter build pet-friendly spaces onsite. To learn how RedRover is building a more compassionate future, visit

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Sheri Madsen
916.429.2457 ext. 310
916.600.8157 cell

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