By Erin Bialecki, RedRover Director of Development

For RedRover’s programs dedicated to helping pets in domestic violence, 2019 was the biggest year to date. Your support of RedRover enabled us to award our 100th Safe Housing grant and provide over $1 million dollars in funding to help create pet-friendly programs in domestic violence shelters across the country. 

Last year saw the launch of the Purple Leash Project, a joint initiative by RedRover and Purina to build awareness around the need for pet-friendly domestic violence shelters in the United States. Purina’s support of our domestic violence programs has meant both an increase in our granting ability and general awareness of the issue. 

We are thisclose to reaching our goal of ensuring every state has pet-friendly domestic violence shelters by the end of 2020. Only five states remain that do not have pet-friendly resources: Hawaii, Rhode Island, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Mississippi.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we initiated the “Take the Lead Challenge” last October. Supporters joined the challenge by making a recurring donation of at least $5 a month or a one-time gift of $60, and received our limited-edition purple leash featuring our Purple Leash Project motto: “Walk. Heal. Together.”

Advocates responded in a big way, posting photos on social media of their pets wearing the one-of-a-kind leash as a way to spread awareness about this lifesaving issue.

Awareness about the issue is not only important for helping to increase pet-friendly resources, but even more so to let domestic violence survivors know that these resources are available to them. is one of those resources. 

As a way to ensure that survivors have the most up-to-date and accurate information, RedRover teamed up with the University of Windsor to conduct research and to update our Safe Place for Pets website, recognized as the most comprehensive website for pet-friendly resources across the United States. Shown is a map of the 753 pet-friendly programs that are searchable on the website.

We will also be teaming up again this year with Rescue Rebuild, a program of, to help transform domestic violence shelters into pet-friendly facilities. We completed five domestic violence shelter builds with Rescue Rebuild last year, including a build project at a shelter in Maine, making it the first pet-friendly shelter in that state!

Not only is this partnership enabling shelters to become pet-friendly, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity for our RedRover Responders volunteers to get involved. We are hopeful through all of our collaboration and outreach the remaining five states will be crossed off the list this year.

Because of your support and the partnerships we’ve made, the number of domestic violence shelters that house pets on-site increased from 10% to 17%! We will continue building on the momentum you’ve helped us create in 2020 and beyond.

We are also thrilled to announce an expansion to our Safe Housing grants program by offering grants of up to $20,000 to animal shelters to build or improve spaces that will temporarily house the pets of domestic violence survivors. 

Animal sheltering is very much becoming a social service for local communities, and the expansion of these community programs will truly be life-saving in offering additional resources for survivors. 

How can you get involved?

You are helping us change the face of domestic violence. Thank you for understanding the importance of this issue!