WASHINGTON COUNTY — A Washington and Hancock County domestic violence shelter will be expanding its space to allow victims to bring not just human family members but also furry ones.
NextStep Domestic Violence Project said about 48 percent of domestic violence victims who have pets delay leaving their homes due to concern for their pets’ safety.
To help change that statistic, RedRover, Purina’s Purple Leash Project and Greater Good Charities are providing $54,000 in grants to NextStep to provide a safe place for families.
That’s according to RedRover’s director of collaboration and outreach, Katie Campbell.
“Bringing pets into the shelter, obviously it’s going to be great for those pets, and it would be great for the pet parents,” said Campbell. “We hear from so many staff and from pet parents that having pets can be extremely helpful for healing and their well-being. It’s an all-around win for everybody.”
Campbell said pets are often used as a tool to manipulate domestic violence victims to stay in the home.
However, she said only around 15% of domestic violence shelters nationwide allow pets.
NextStep associate director, Kelly Brown said with this grant they can expand and transform pet-friendly space at the shelter.
She said the grants will cover pet supplies, carriers, kennels for rooms, veterinarians, and more.
“Outside there’s not only a fenced area for the pets to play, there’s all kinds of toys, and a bench where the family can sit for a while,” said Brown. “And there’s this long run where the dogs can just go back and forth.”
Brown said their goal is to have the shelter completed by Monday, July 5th.
“It’s really exciting to take that added pressure off of the families,” said Brown.
For more information, you can visit NextStep Domestic Violence Project’s website.