New Coalition Supports Legislation Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors and Their Pets
A group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations have joined forces to better protect domestic violence survivors by establishing, validating and promoting the criticality of protecting their pets, too. The coalition is urging passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act (H.R. 909, S.322), a bill that is adamant about removing a roadblock that is essential to the safety of these survivors with pets, enabling them to live healthy, safe lives, together.
Organizations in the coalition include: Nestlé Purina PetCare, Bayer Corporation, Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), Noah’s Animal House, Pet Partners and Urban Resource Institute.
Two of these organizations, Noah’s Animal House and Urban Resource Institute are just a couple of the only 3 percent of domestic violence shelters across the country who are working to keep both pets and their owners away from the dangers of domestic abuse. Together the two organizations have saved more than 1,500 pets from abusive conditions, so that no domestic violence survivor is forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship and leaving their pet with their abuser.
“Up to 65 percent of domestic violence victims remain in abusive homes out of fear for their pet’s safety, and even more women residing in domestic violence shelters reported that a pet was harmed by their abuser,” said Nathaniel Fields, URI President and CEO. “Through the Urban Resource Institute’s innovative People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program, domestic violence survivors in New York City are able to find safe harbor with their pets in one of our dedicated shelters. PALS is the largest and only model of its kind in New York State, and this new coalition will help extend that life-saving, pet-inclusive approach to domestic violence shelters across America.”
The PAWS Act Coalition members have been working to promote awareness and encourage support for the legislation, with 247 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 37 in the Senate. There is now new momentum with the bill’s language included in the recently-passed Senate Farm Bill.