Domestic Violence and Pets

Learn more about how to support survivors with pets

The Issue

Support Survivors

The Issue

Support Survivors

dog with cone

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

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Nearly half of victims stay in abusive situations rather than leave their pet behind.

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

52% of survivors in shelters leave their pets with their 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 their abusers, 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 abusive homes for fear of subjecting their animals to continued abuse if they’re left behind, or worse yet, torture or death.

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.

  • 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

You can help raise awareness by distributing our Safe Place for Pets wallet-sized cards in your community. These Safe Place for Pets website offers a searchable database of pet-friendly resources throughout the U.S. and Canada. Order a pack of wallet cards to distribute to your local hairstylists and other common confidantes. You’ll also receive a information on how to describe the issue when distributing the cards.

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.

Domestic Violence and Pets

Wallet cards

Domestic Violence and Pets

Survivor version

89087 PLP Vet US Poster

Veterinarian version




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

Do you know someone who may be in an abusive relationship?

Download and share the Signs of an Abusive Relationship flyer


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