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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Keeping Pets And People Together: RedRover And Purina Partner To Make More Domestic Violence Shelters Across The U.S. Pet Friendly

RedRover + Purina Purple Leash Project will Offer More than $500,000 in Grants to Keep Pets and People Safely Together While Escaping Domestic Abuse

Press Release – ST LOUIS, Feb. 12, 2019 – The bond between pets and their owners is unbreakable, but the lack of pet-friendly housing options for domestic violence victims often leaves them with a heartbreaking decision – endure abuse in order to stay with their beloved pet, or leave their pet behind. It is a decision that no pet owner should have to make, which is why RedRover and Purina are joining forces to introduce the Purple Leash Project. This project will empower more domestic violence shelters across the United States to become pet-friendly, so domestic abuse victims can escape with their pets and begin to heal together as survivors.

Beginning this year, Purina is committing more than $500,000 over the next four years to establish RedRover + Purina Purple Leash Project grants. These grants will be awarded on a biannual basis to provide funding and resources to transform domestic violence emergency shelters into safe spaces for survivors with pets. The Purple Leash is a visible symbol of an invisible struggle for domestic violence victims and their pets –purple representing domestic violence awareness and the leash symbolizing the unbreakable bond between pets and their owners.

“We have a responsibility to our family members, friends and neighbors and their pets who may be silently suffering from domestic abuse to create safe places where they can escape and heal together,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, President of Purina. “Together with RedRover, we can reshape the way domestic violence victims and their pets are served and strengthen our communities in the process.”

Today, only roughly 10 percent of domestic violence shelters in the US allow pets. And, sadly, nearly half of domestic violence victims won’t leave their abusers because they can’t bring their pet, creating a barrier for the safety of the entire family, including those with four paws. By working together, RedRover and Purina hope to offer more resources for domestic violence victims with pets, so that a beloved pet is never again an obstacle to leaving — instead, a leash comes to represent a lifeline that leads to a brighter future together.

RedRover + Purina Purple Leash Project grants, an extension of RedRover’s Safe Housing program, will contribute to RedRover’s goal of establishing at least one pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in each state. Since the inception of the Safe Housing program in 2012, 83 grants have been awarded to assist domestic violence shelters efforts to become pet-friendly for a total of $598,018.77. There are currently no pet-friendly domestic violence shelters in Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

“For more than 11 years, RedRover has been working to support domestic violence survivors trying to escape abuse with their pets, and together with Purina, we’ll be able to accelerate our goals with a hope of having a pet-friendly shelter in all 50 states by 2020,” said Nicole Forsyth, President and CEO of RedRover. “Alongside Purina, we encourage any domestic violence shelter that is ready to become pet-friendly to apply for a Purple Leash Project grant. We are ready to help!”

Domestic Violence shelters interested in learning more about becoming pet friendly and applying for a RedRover + Purina Purple Leash Project grant can visit RedRover.org/relief/safe-housing-grants. To learn more about the Purple Leash Project, visit PurpleLeashProject.com.

Purina has been committed to keeping pets and people together as they escape domestic violence for more than five years and is a founding member of the PAWS Act Coalition, which has been working alongside other for-profit and non-profit organizations to advocate for more and better protections and services for domestic violence victims and their pets at a federal level. As part of the Purple Leash Project with RedRover, throughout the year, Purina volunteers and RedRover Responder volunteers will also work alongside domestic violence shelters to help transform their spaces into safe and inviting places for pets. Purina will also provide grant recipient shelters with a donation of nutritious Purina pet foods to ensure the dogs and cats in their care have a consistent, high quality and complete and balanced diet as they begin a new chapter with their owners. Watch the story of one survivor and her dog, Princess:

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be a victims of some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence transcends ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, race and social status and comes in many forms beyond physical abuse including emotional, sexual, psychological and financial. If you or someone you love is being abused by a spouse or partner, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 for support and resources: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Bilingual advocates are available.


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