Bayer Campaign Supports Women, Pet Domestic Violence Survivors
Bayer Animal Health aims to help lower the number of animals abused or killed in connection with domestic violence by raising awareness through its PAWS: Share the Story. The campaign, which supports domestic violence survivors through the donation of $60,000 to three domestic violence shelters across the country that support pets involved in domestic abuse.
According to Bayer’s research, almost half of abused women say they are unable to escape abusive living situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets should they leave, abusers use pets as pawns, and too few domestic violence shelters exist nationwide equipped to house and care for pets, resulting in survivors choosing between a life without their pet or a dangerous living situation for both.
Bayer said in a statement that the company understands the importance of creating awareness about this issue, and that it has been an avid supporter and advocate of Rose Brooks Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Rose Brooks Center is an award-winning domestic violence shelter providing such services as prevention programming, crisis prevention, life skills development and other supportive and therapeutic services. In 2012, with help from Bayer, Rose Brooks Center became the first domestic violence shelter in the region to welcome four-legged family members, and the therapeutic benefits pets have on abuse survivors became abundantly clear. Bayer’s donation of $50,000 helped to fund the creation of Paws Place, a pet shelter co-located on Rose Brooks’ facility, providing a safe place for survivors of domestic abuse to spend time with their pets and heal together. Since its creation, Bayer has supported Rose Brooks Center every year by providing funding for pet care costs and facility maintenance.
Bayer shared the story of one survivor who recalled her decision to come to Paws Place for refuge.
“My dog is a big part of my family and is my emotional support system. It’s hard to put into words, but animals heal [you]—more than sitting in a chair for therapy. If it weren’t for Paws Place, I wouldn’t have come to the shelter and I would have lost my kids. My dog would have stayed chained up with my abuser. Animals are protectors, and my dog stepped in to protect me from my abuser several times.”
Now, Bayer is extending support to other domestic violence shelters. This year, Bayer is giving $20,000 to Noah’s Animal House, located in Las Vegas, and to Urban Resource Institute (URI), located in New York. Both organizations have campuses equipped to heal both the survivors of domestic violence and their pets.
Noah’s Animal House is a full-service boarding facility on the grounds of the largest women and children’s shelter in Nevada, The Shade Tree Shelter. In 2005, a heartbreaking story of a woman escaping her battered life with her pet inspired the shelter to remove their “No Pets Allowed” sign, and Noah’s Animal House was built two years later. After eight years in operation, Noah’s Animal House has cared for and protected more than 1,000 pets for the women and children at the shelter.
URI supports more than 1,400 clients each year, offering therapeutic, counseling and educational services in both English and Spanish. In 2013, the URI People and Animals Living Safely (URIPALS) program was launched on-site at URI’s Urban Women’s Safe Haven and Urban Women’s Retreat shelters. URIPALS is the first co-sheltering program in New York, and one of few offered nationwide, that is equipped to house families and pets together, preserving their welfare and safety.
Steps are being taken on a national level to address this issue. The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act is currently in review and aims to help bridge the gap between the need of services for domestic violence survivors with pets and the ability of agencies to meet those needs.
“Survivors of domestic violence should not have to choose between their safety and a loved one, and these shelters make it possible for them to heal in a safe place, without saying goodbye to their pets,” said Lauren Dorsch, senior manager of communications for Bayer Animal Health.
To support the PAWS Act and raise awareness:
- Send an electronic letter to local congressman/woman and/or state senator by clicking here.
- Share the educational video located here on social media channels.
To learn more and watch a short video about Bayer Animal Health’s PAWS: Share the Story campaign, visit http://www.petandwomensafety.com.