Originally Published by Bayer.
Bayer announces 13 domestic violence shelters that are receiving funding through Grants Fur Families, a new program providing life-saving support to domestic violence shelters across the country that understand the critical role of the human animal bond. Each of the shelters is receiving $10,000 from Bayer to support their efforts to provide safe places for those fleeing physical, mental and emotional abuse with their pets.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving [my pet] Zeus behind to face [my abuser’s] rage and anger alone.” Cherish, a survivor
“I was afraid he’d hurt [my pet] Mitzi to get me to come crawling back.” Anna, a survivor
Women like Cherish and Anna, past clients of Bridges Domestic Violence Center in Franklin, Tenn., have struggled with the choice of how to escape domestic violence along with their pet. In fact, nearly half of abused women stay in their abusive relationships out of concern for the welfare of their beloved pet. While a strong network of domestic violence shelters exists to provide women and children a safe place, there is a significant unmet need existing for those seeking shelter along with their pets. Nationwide, less than 5 percent of domestic violence shelters can accommodate pets on-site, forcing abuse victims to choose between staying in an abusive relationship and leaving their pet with the abuser.
With support from Bayer, the 13 Grants Fur Families recipients including Bridges Domestic Violence Center will be able to improve their existing pet-related facilities or open on-site pet facilities for the first time:
- 180 Turning Lives Around in New Jersey
- Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties in Ohio
- Bridges of Williamson County in Tennessee
- Center for Hope and Safety in Oregon
- Crisis Center in Colorado
- Domestic Violence Intervention Program in Iowa
- Haven Hills in California
- Haven House, Inc. in New Mexico
- Next Step Domestic Violence Project in Maine
- Quigley House in Florida
- Resources Education Assistance Counseling and Housing of Macon in North Carolina
- Safehouse Services in Wyoming
- Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania
Another grant recipient, The Crisis Center in Littleton, Colo., plans to begin welcoming pets at their facility using the Grants Fur Families funds. “Every day, the Crisis Center receives calls from individuals fleeing domestic violence. With them, they have the clothes on their backs and the one thing that is most important to them, their pet,” says Jennifer Walker, Crisis Center Executive Director. “Many return to their abuser because the domestic violence shelter they hoped would keep them safe is unable to safely shelter their pet. We are excited to be able to partner with Bayer to develop an innovative program for those individuals seeking shelter at the Crisis Center that have pets with them. The Grants Fur Families funds are vital in decreasing barriers that victims and their pets have in seeking a safe place to be.”
Bayer is committed to supporting domestic violence shelters in their efforts to increase and improve options for families with pets to live without fear. “We recognize the deep, life-changing bond that people share with their pets,” said Raymond F. Kerins Jr., Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer. “We are so humbled and moved by all the Grants Fur Families applicants that we increased our funding so even more domestic violence shelters can open their doors to pets. No one should have to choose between their safety and their pet.”
How can you help raise awareness
There are several ways people across the country can support Grants Fur Families and the 13 recipient shelters in celebrating the human animal bond and raising awareness for this important cause. Those interested can take action by:
- Following @Bayer4Pets on Instagram and Twitter and liking, sharing and tagging your friends and family with the content posted there to help more people understand the need for pet-friendly domestic violence shelters.
- Sharing the educational video located on www.petandwomensafety.com on social media channels with the hashtags #GrantsFurFamilies and #GivingTuesday.
- Sharing this information with a local domestic violence shelter in your community.