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Domestic violence statistics in America are sobering. Nearly one in four women and about one in seven men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

What makes these statistics more concerning is that not all victims of domestic violence leave the situation right away. Surveys of domestic violence victims have indicated that nearly half have delayed leaving or returned to their abuser because they feared what could happen to their family pets. In one Utah study, over 70% of pet-owning victims said their abuser threatened, injured or even killed their family pet.

Not all domestic violence shelters are able to accommodate pets, making the decision to leave that much more difficult. In order to run a pet-friendly domestic violence shelter, additional funds and resources are needed so shelters have the right tools to accept animals of varying sizes.

During Domestic Violence Awareness month each October, the AKC Humane Fund helps pet-related organizations nationwide to provide domestic violence shelters with the means to welcome pets into their safe haven. Established in 2007, the fund’s mission is to promote responsible pet ownership through education, outreach and grant-making.

The AKC Humane Fund is the leading organization providing financial assistance to domestic violence shelters that accept pets. These grants make it easier for domestic violence shelters to welcome pets and help break the cycle of domestic abuse. Through these grants, these shelters are able to better provide the necessary supplies, food and support pets need while keeping their families safe and out of danger.

“The grants are awarded on a rolling basis to not-for-profit domestic violence shelters that accept pets and to not-for-profit animal shelters that provide services for domestic violence shelters,” says Daphna Straus, secretary of the AKC Humane Fund, Inc. All eligible organizations are encouraged to apply.

Learn more or make a donation to the AKC Humane Fund at