The Urban Resources Institute (URI) has announced the launch of their new co-sheltering program. The PALS program will allow victims of domestic abuse to bring their pets when removing themselves from an abusive home. URI is the first in NYC and one of the few nationwide that will open their doors and welcome pets into their shelter.
Statics show that it is important that victims be allowed to bring their pets when leaving an abusive home. According to URI:
“Today, national data show that more than 40 percent of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations out of fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind. Plus, more than 70 percent of pet owners who enter shelter report that the abuser has threatened, injured or killed family pets.(*) Yet in New York City—the largest provider of domestic violence services in the country with more than 50 shelters—not one shelter currently allows pets in residence, until now.”
These statistics can be shocking considering events such as hurricane Katrina have shown that pets are just as important to our family as anyone else. Nathaniel Fields, president of URI agrees, saying that “no one should have to make the impossible decision to leave them behind during times of crisis.”
CBS New York talked about one survivor of domestic abuse Muriel Raggi, and this is what she had to say:
“Four years ago I was in an abusive relationship and at the time my dog Jasmine was only around eight months old,” domestic violence survivor Muriel Raggi told 1010 WINS. “She would often put herself in harm’s way trying to protect me and she would get kicked and she would become the target of his anger.”
Raggi said she had to spend five months away from Jasmine after leaving the abusive relationship because they couldn’t seek shelter together.
“There were moments when I felt like I had no one to comfort me and there were times when I just didn’t want to answer questions about why I was crying or why things were so hard, I just wanted Jasmine to be there to provide affection and comfort,” Raggi said.
URI has created 10 pet-friendly apartments for domestic abusive victims and will at first only allow small animals such as cats, hamsters, and fish along. They hope to raise more money in the upcoming months so that they can make the changes needed to accommodate larger pets such as dogs.
Domestic abuse, while tragic, is very common, both against people and their pets. URI’s PALS program in New York will join the 24 other states with similar pet-friendly programs.