Grey cat paws in the hands of a woman

Domestic Violence and Pets

Learn more about how to support survivors with pets

The Issue

Support Survivors

The Issue

Support Survivors

Teal dog icon with cone on his neck

71% of women in domestic violence shelters report their abuser threatened, injured or killed a pet.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Nearly half of victims stay with an abuser rather than leave their pet behind.

Carlisle-Frank, Frank and Nielsen, (2004). Pets as Pawns.

52% of survivors in shelters leave their pets with the abusers.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

As many as 25% of survivors will return because the abuser is using their pet as a means to get the person back.


Research shows abusers often have a pattern of violence towards all members of the household – including children and pets. When domestic violence survivors seek to flee an abuser, many are faced with the challenge of finding shelter for themselves, their children, and their pets. Many shelters do not have the means to house companion animals. Sadly, many survivors stay in with an abuser for fear that the abuse of their animals will escalate if they're left behind, or that threats to their animals will be used to compel them to go back.

What is RedRover Doing?

RedRover offers resources to help survivors and their pets find safety together

Safe Escape

Pays for pet boarding to help
families with pets safely escape
domestic violence together.

Safe Housing

Helps domestic violence and animal organizations build pet programs that work for survivors in their communities.

Purple Leash

Provides funding and resources to domestic violence shelters who wish to house both survivors and their pets.


Don't Forget
the Pets

Training for domestic violence, homeless, and animal shelters to learn how to create and sustain pet housing programs.

25 by 2025 Movement

Aims to help 25% of domestic violence shelters become pet friendly by 2025. Take the pledge to join us!

  • RedRover donor
    I've been an animal lover all my life.  As a child, I witnessed my stepdad abusing our pets and it hurt me to the very core. I think your agency is one of the best in caring for animals of all types so I consider my donation as a gift to animals from my heart. Thank you for what you do.
    RedRover donor
  • RedRover donor
    I heartily support RedRover with a recurring monthly donation. RedRover does what no other animal organization does - they promote the development of empathy in children via their reading program. In addition to developing empathy for animals, their program also helps children develop critical thinking skills.
    RedRover donor
  • RedRover donor
    The work you’re doing is beyond wonderful. I don’t have the right word for how critical, moving, essential and terrific it is.
    RedRover donor
  • RedRover donor
    Thank you, RedRover, for all the wonderful and amazing things you do for animals and their humans. With all your compassion, tenacity, passion, dedication, and hard work, you are all providing SO many second chances to our precious and VERY deserving animals, and helping to make this world a kinder and safer one for them to live in.
    RedRover donor
  • RedRover donor
    RedRover [is] on my year-end giving list every year; as an animal lover, I'm very emotionally moved by the work that you do.
    RedRover donor

Download and print RedRover’s flyers about pets and domestic violence (PDF) and share with your local domestic violence and animal shelters, veterinarians, pet supply stores, and others who care.

Legislative Support: In 2017, Illinois became the first state to pass a law requiring all salon professionals to complete a one-hour training course on how to spot warning signs of abuse, offer verbal support and refer clients to crisis groups. Fourteen states have now introduced similar types of legislation. In addition, many states have enacted legislation to include pets in protection orders in cases of domestic abuse. Is your state one of them? Learn more.


Join the
Purple Leash Project

Become a monthly donor at just $5 a month or make a one-time $60 donation to receive our limited-edition Purple Leash Project leash or cat collar. Your donation will help make pet-friendly domestic violence shelters more accessible to survivors.

Take Action