Purple Leash Project

St. Louis-based Purina and the nonprofit RedRover announced four new Purple Leash Project shelter grant recipients, deepening their commitment to providing resources for domestic abuse survivors and their pets.

The latest round of grant recipients includes Services to Abused Families in Culpeper County, Va., Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center in Webster County, Iowa, NextStep Domestic Violence Project in Washington County, Maine, and Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program in Athens County, Ohio. Funding will go toward pet-friendly renovations at the domestic violence shelters, including pet play yards and indoor room conversions as well as kennels and veterinary care.

In the U.S., only 15 percent of domestic violence shelters are pet-friendly, often leaving victims with pets limited choices when trying to escape abuse, Purina officials reported. Almost half (48 percent) of domestic violence victims will remain in an abusive situation if they can’t bring their pet with them to the shelter, officials added. Through the Purple Leash Project, Purina and RedRover help to fill the gaps in domestic violence survivor resources so that victims and pets can escape domestic violence and heal together in a safe and healthy environment.

“We know that pets have a big influence on a survivor’s decision to leave abuse, because the human-pet bond is so strong,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and president of Purina. “Through the Purple Leash Project, we hope to provide even more options for survivors and their pets to safely escape abuse and start a new chapter together.”

Since the Purple Leash Project was founded in 2019, 25 grants totaling more than $445,000 have been awarded to domestic violence shelters across the U.S. To date, Purina has provided more than $1 million in funding to the Purple Leash Project, and it is working toward a goal of helping to ensure that at least 25 percent of domestic violence shelters are pet-friendly by 2025.

Each domestic violence shelter will use the Purple Leash Project grants to fund projects and services based on their specific needs:

  • Services to Abused Families will receive $20,000 to renovate the barn on the property to house dogs and cats and also create an outdoor pet play area.
  • Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center will receive $20,000 to build on-site kennels, create an outdoor pet play yard and cover veterinary care for pets.
  • NextStep Domestic Violence Project will receive $17,407 to convert indoor rooms to become pet-friendly and create an outdoor pet play area.
  • Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program will receive $12,950 to create an outdoor pet play yard, convert indoor rooms to be pet-friendly and cover veterinary care for pets.

In addition, retailer Pet Supplies Plus is supporting the Purple Leash Project by providing $1,000 to each organization to help them stock supplies for pet residents who enter the shelter. Having bedding, toys, food, treats and other comforts will help pets and survivors feel more at home, said Purina officials.

“Thanks to the RedRover and Purina Purple Leash Project grant, Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center is able to take one more barrier away by having a safe place for our clients’ pets to also stay when they are trying to leave an abusive situation,” said Leah Bair, program development director at Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center. “We are so grateful for this opportunity and to be able to serve many more survivors.”

To learn more about the Purple Leash Project, make a donation or sign up for ongoing updates, visit purpleleashproject.com.