New Grants Allow More Survivors and their Pets to Escape Abuse Together

Washington County, Maine (June 28 – July 1, 2021) – Did you know that up to 48 percent of domestic violence victims delay leaving their abusers because they fear what would happen to their pets? Pets are often used as a tool to manipulate domestic violence victims to stay in the home.

RedRover + Purina’s Purple Leash Project and Greater Good Charities are working to change that.

Together they are providing $54,000 in grants to enable NextStep Domestic Violence Project to double their capacity to house survivors’ pets onsite. Currently, only about 15% of domestic violence shelters nationwide allow pets. The Purple Leash Project has a goal of ensuring 25% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. are pet-friendly by 2025.

RedRover is thrilled to welcome back RedRover Responders volunteers on this project. They will join Rescue Rebuild, a program of Greater Good Charities, to help expand and transform pet-friendly space at the shelter. Rescue Rebuild are experts in repairing and renovating domestic violence shelters and animal shelters in need across the nation.

Nicole Forsyth, RedRover’s President and CEO, said, “We are proud to be back in Maine helping NextStep renovate their space to welcome more pets of domestic violence survivors. RedRover believes that pets are family, and we know how the special bond with our pets can help in the healing process that follows once leaving an abuser.”

Over five days, the combined team will install privacy fencing for a dog play yard, which will include seating and a waste station, pour a new sidewalk and ramp to ensure ADA accessibility, install pet-friendly flooring and base molding, create cat enrichment projects such as cat bridges and cat shelving, add kitty cots, and provide in-room and take-home dog crates. Additionally, the grants will cover pet supplies such as bowls, collars, beds, leashes, and toys, as well as pet supplies for survivors to take with them once they leave the shelter.

Greater Good Charities Vice President of Pet Programs, Bryna Donnelly said, “NextStep is an amazing organization serving the Downeast portion of Maine. We are very excited to be able to help their pet program grow.”

According to the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, a domestic violence assault is reported to Maine law enforcement every two hours and five minutes, and in 2017 these assaults comprised more than 40% of the total assaults reported.

NextStep’s Associate Director, Kelly Brown, said, “This funding is going to help families have a smoother transition into the shelter because they can be with their pets. We have witnessed this with the current families we have been able to assist with their pets. It will give pet owners a sense of relief that they have never had before because they won’t have to worry about where their pet will go and if they might be abused.”

About RedRover

RedRover is a 501(c)(3) national animal welfare nonprofit organization. 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 provided more than $2M to support domestic violence survivors and their pets, have helped thousands of animals, and provided more than 420,000 safe nights of boarding. To learn how RedRover is building a more compassionate future, visit

About Purina

Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering scientifically based nutritional innovations. Purina manufactures some of the world’s most trusted and popular pet care products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Our more than 8,700 U.S. associates take pride in our trusted pet food, treat and litter brands that feed 51 million dogs and 65 million cats every year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians, and pet care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition.

Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products and our support for pet-related organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed more than $150 million towards organizations that bring, and keep, people and pets together, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive.

Purina is part of Nestlé, a global leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness. For more information, visit or subscribe here to get the latest Purina news.

About Greater Good Charities

Greater Good Charities is a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit organization, with a 100/100 rating on Charity Navigator, that works to amplify the good in the world to improve the health and well-being of people, pets, and the planet. Since 2007, Greater Good Charities has given over $300 million in cash and in-kind grants to over 5,000 charitable partners worldwide and funded projects in 121 countries. To date, Greater Good Charities has provided $23 million in support for COVID-19 disaster-relief, including cash grants, in-kind supplies, and programmatic support. To learn more about how Greater Good Charities is amplifying the good across the globe, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

About NextStep DV Project

NextStep Domestic Violence Project offers services to all residents of Hancock and Washington Counties, whether they are impacted by domestic abuse directly or are concerned about a friend, neighbor, coworker, or family member. Our mission is two-fold: to assist people affected by abuse (and those who care about them), and to foster a culture in which abuse ceases to exist. Visit for more information or use their 24/7 Helpline: 1-800-315-5579.

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Sheri Madsen
916.600.8157 cell

 To schedule an onsite visit call NextStep’s Susan Jonason at 207.991.1208.