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Journalist/talk show host Tamron Hall and Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale have joined the initiative.

The Purple Leash Project, a national initiative founded by Purina and the nonprofit RedRover to provide more resources and support for domestic violence survivors with pets, will have two additional advocates during October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month: journalist/talk show host Tamron Hall and Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale.

Domestic abuse impacts the lives of many Americans, with one in three women and one in four men suffering abuse in their lifetimes, officials said in a statement.

For Hall, whose sister was killed by her abuser, domestic violence had a life-changing impact on her family. Hall, a lifelong pet lover, has been a longstanding and outspoken champion for survivors.

“The thought of survivors of domestic violence forced to leave pets behind because shelters are not equipped to take them in is a heartbreaking reality not talked about enough,” Hall said. “I’m proud to be partnering with the Purple Leash Project and lending my voice to increase awareness and help eradicate this issue. Together, we can help ease one of the many burdens that victims have to shoulder.”

The reality for many survivors, according to officials, is that the love they have for their pets is used against them by abusers. In fact, 70 percent of women in domestic violence shelters report their abuser threatened, injured or killed a pet as means of control. But because as few as 10 percent of U.S. domestic violence shelters allow pets, nearly have of victims will delay leaving their abuser in an effort to protect their pet from the inherent danger of being left behind, officials said.

“The bond we share with our pets is unbreakable, but for women and men suffering from domestic violence, abusers will often use pets to threaten and manipulate their victims, said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Purina, which is based in St. Louis. “That’s why it’s critical to pave a way for survivors to leave abuse with their pets in tow, to protect the bond they share and begin the healing process together.”

Hale has also been an outspoken advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault, giving a voice to the voiceless having experienced assault firsthand. For Hale, the reality that pets are also impacted by domestic violence was “eye-opening.”

“I can’t imagine having to face the dilemma of staying in a dangerous situation or leaving my dog Elvis in harm’s way,” Hale said. “This is a heartbreaking situation for someone to be in, on top of the abuse they have already endured. When I learned Purina and RedRover were creating safe havens to keep victims and their pets together, I knew it was a cause I wanted to help champion.”

Throughout October, Purina and RedRover are inviting others to champion the Purple Leash Project cause in two ways:

  • Empower in Purple. “On Purple Thursday, Oct. 22, take the lead in raising awareness by wearing purple and snapping a picture while walking your pet,” officials said. “Share it on Facebook or Instagram tagging @Purina and @RedRoverOrg using hashtag #PurpleLeashProject and share why you support this cause.”
  • Donate.Consider donating to RedRover to support the Purple Leash Project,” officials said. “Funds will continue to help transform domestic violence shelters into pet-friendly spaces so pets and people can heal together. For donations of $60 or more (including a $5 reoccurring monthly donation), RedRover will send a limited-edition Purple Leash Project leash featuring the ‘Walk. Heal. Together.’ motto.”

Since founding the Purple Leash Project in 2019, Purina is nearing a $1 million commitment to increase the number of pet-friendly shelters in the United States and fund other efforts to support survivors with pets, according to officials. Purina behaviorists and designers, along with hundreds of volunteers from Purina and RedRover, have dedicated more than 1,500 hours to renovating shelters nationwide, officials further noted. Purina also continues to advocate for federal resources and funding to support the creation of pet-friendly shelters as a founding member of the PAWS Act Coalition.