05 June 2013

A few months ago, at a friend’s suggestion, I gave to Ahimsa House, a great organization that helps human and animal victims of domestic violence in Georgia by providing shelter to both.

A disheartening, but understandable, fact is that most shelters can’t accept animals because they don’t have the facilities or they are mindful that other residents may be allergic to pets. 

Urban Resource institute just became the first domestic abuse shelter in New York City to take in pets. According to URI’s website, up to 40% of victims of domestic violence don’t leave their dangerous situation for fear that their abuser will harm the animal once they go. 

Now, victims don’t have to make that hard choice. This week, URI launched a program called People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) at URI’s Urban Women’s Safe Haven Shelter. 

To start, PALS accepts cats, rabbits, birds and fish and plans to add dogs in the future. 

Bringing an animal to a shelter is a last resort, so URI suggests that domestic abuse victims, if possible, plan in advance by finding a family member who can take care of a pet and have a bag packed with everything the animal needs at the ready, as well as keeping all vet records, microchip info and a pet photo in one, accessible place. 

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