In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the American Kennel Club Humane Fund has created a $10,000 veterinary fund for Urban Resource Institute (URI),’s PAL’s Place. URI is the largest shelter provider in the country. The donation is part of the Humane Fund’s commitment to assisting domestic violence shelters with the ability to welcome survivors with their pets.
“The AKC Humane Fund is dedicated to protecting pets and celebrating the human-animal bond,” said Doug Ljungren, President of the AKC Humane Fund. “Supporting domestic violence shelters that allow pets is something we feel strongly about. We’re happy to give a donation that will help URI provide essential veterinary care so survivors know that their beloved pets will be taken care of. Too often, victims of domestic violence delay leaving a dangerous situation out of fear for their pet. We want to help break that cycle.”
URI’s PALS (People and Animals Living Safely) program is New York City’s first and only co-living option that allows victims of domestic violence to live in the same apartment with their pets while in shelter. The fund will directly support the well-being and health of pets who enter one of URI’s seven PALS-equipped domestic violence shelters by providing critical veterinary services. Pets entering shelter often need medical attention to address abuse, trauma, or neglect, as well as ongoing care to stay active and healthy.
The statistics around barriers preventing domestic violence victims from escaping abuse are staggering. 70% of pet-owning domestic violence victims report their abusers injured, killed, or threatened their pets. 48% of victims delay leaving an abusive situation out of concern for their pets’ safety. Yet only 3% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. provide co-sheltering options for survivors and their pets. PALS Place is the first domestic shelter in the nation in which every apartment is designed and built from the ground up with the well-being of pets in mind based on guidance from animal behaviorists.
“We are honored to partner with the AKC Humane Fund to bring critical veterinary services and educational resources to domestic violence survivors and their pets, who are too often overlooked as victims of abuse,” said Nathaniel Fields, President & CEO of Urban Resource Institute. “URI and AKC share a commitment to protect the health and wellness of pets and preserve the human-animal bond. With our extensive experience and on-the-ground services, coupled with AKC’s incredible network and leadership in the animal welfare community, this relationship has the potential to educate and provide safety information to practitioners and advocates across the country, to ultimately better protect people and pets.”
The AKC Humane Fund is committed to furthering knowledge and awareness of the link between domestic violence and pets among key animal advocates and practitioners. The easy-to-remember acronym “SAFE” created by URI can inform a critical safety plan and provide life-saving information for pet-owners fleeing abuse.
Supplies. Set aside supplies, pack an emergency bag and keep it hidden, but easily accessible. Make sure to include necessary food, medication, and records for pets.
Animal ownership documents. Accumulate registration records, vet records, a microchip, and/or a current photo to prove ownership of your pets in a safe place.
Friends and family. Find a friend or family member to help care for your pet in case of a sudden emergency. They are an important part of your overall pet-care plan.
Explore options. Look into resources in your community for assistance with your pets. Look for a local co-sheltering program or animal welfare organization that can provide services. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a list of resources here