Research clearly shows that offenders of domestic violence often have a pattern of abuse involving all members of the household – including children and pets. When survivors of domestic violence seek to escape their abusive homes they’re not only faced with the challenge of finding shelter for themselves and their children, but also for their pets.
Unfortunately, many shelters do not have the means to house companion animals and many survivors are left facing the difficult decision to either leave their pets behind or remain in the abusive environment. Sadly, many survivors stay in abusive homes for fear of subjecting their animals to continued abuse, if left behind. Equally disturbing, animals are often left with their abusers to face torture or even death.
What is RedRover doing?
RedRover offers financial assistance for victims of domestic violence and their pets through our RedRover Relief program.
- Safe Escape grants pay for temporary boarding and/or veterinary care to enable domestic violence
victims to remove their pets to safety. For safety reasons, the application must be submitted by a shelter
- Safe Housing grants grants fund start-up costs for domestic violence shelters seeking to house pets on site. RedRover partners with Sheltering Animals and Families Together (SAF-T) to help shelters implement the program.
- SafePlaceforPets.org is an online directory of pet support programs for pet owners facing domestic violence.
Since 2007, RedRover has awarded thousands of dollars in grants to help care for and shelter animals displaced by family violence. Here is one story:
Lynn and her family had been living in fear for months. Lynn’s two-year-old daughter and their family pet, a one-year-old dog named Coco, constantly witnessed screaming and disturbing behavior from Lynn’s abuser. He regularly “tore up the apartment” and had once kicked Coco. Lynn gained the courage to leave their abuser and fled to a nearby domestic violence shelter. The shelter was unable to house pets on site, but Lynn’s case manager knew about RedRover’s emergency grant program. A Safe Escape grant paid for 30 nights of emergency boarding for Coco and enabled the entire family to start a new life. Learn more about available grants.
Relevant statistics on domestic violence and animal abuse:
- 52 percent of victims in shelters leave their pets with their batterers (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
- Up to 48 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave (Ascione, F.R., 2007)
- 71 percent of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32 percent reported their children had hurt or killed animals (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
While most domestic violence shelters do not provide on-site shelter for animals, programs exist that help connect pet owners with safe animal havens.
Spread the word
Share the flier
Download RedRover’s flier about pets and domestic violence (PDF) and distribute it to your local domestic violence shelters, animal shelters and other people who care.
Wear the message
Our STOP THE VIOLENCE shirts are back! Wear to share the link between animal abuse and domestic violence.
Resources for domestic violence shelters:
- If you are a family violence shelter interested in housing pets on-site, please email Relief@RedRover.org for assistance.
- Download the Start-Up Guide, written by Allie Phillips, that outlines how to transform your shelter to house family pets on-site.
- Learn more about RedRover’s Domestic Violence Safe Housing grants, which help fund start-up costs for on-site pet housing projects.
- The Domestic Violence Resource Library is a comprehensive list of all kinds of domestic violence resources divided by location, audience, and type.
- The American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Humane Fund Women’s Shelter Grants are awarded for essential operational support relating to the housing of pets or capital improvements specifically for the housing of pets.
- The Mary Kay Foundation observes National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by awarding grants to deserving women’s domestic violence shelters across the United States.
- RedRover maintains a directory of various grant programs for nonprofit organizations.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- National Link Coalition
- National Network to End Domestic Violence
- National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Legislation related to pets and protective orders:
Many states have enacted legislation to include pets in protection orders in cases of domestic abuse. Is your state one of them? Learn more