What if families fleeing domestic abuse didn’t have to choose between their pets and their own safety?
That was the topic of the most powerful presentation I saw at Purina’s Better With Pets Summit in New York City earlier this week. It was led by John Hockenberry, host of public radio’s The Takeaway, and he interviewed Rita Garza from the first major city domestic abuse shelter to welcome pets. Joining them (in the middle) was domestic abuse survivor Pam, who got to bring her three cats to the domestic abuse shelter.
Garza is the senior VP of marketing, communications and development at URI PALS (Urban Resource Institute, People and Animals Living Safely), a NYC-based program that keeps women and their pets safe from domestic abuse. From the current single shelter that accepts pets, they’re close to having five. Within a year or two they want to make all 50 of their domestic abuse shelters pet-friendly.
Furthermore they hope to make this accepting-pets NYC model for shelters one that can be repeated in shelters around the world.
I couldn’t agree more!