Press release: PAWS Act Coalition
The PAWS Act Coalition, a group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, is working to raise awareness among the domestic violence shelter community of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance Grant Program. This program will support shelter and transitional housing services for survivors of domestic violence and their companion animals, which was made possible by the passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act by Congress in 2018.
“The PAWS Act funding and new grants mark an important milestone in keeping more pets and their families together,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Nestlé Purina PetCare. “Purina is committed to continuing to work alongside our partners to increase the number of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters so families and their pets can safely leave an abusive situation and heal together.”
“With incidents of domestic violence increasing as a result of coronavirus stay-at-home orders, the need for pet-friendly sheltering will also grow, and this funding could not have come at a better time,” said Steven Feldman, executive director of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). “HABRI is proud to have participated in this two-plus year effort to support the successful implementation of the lifesaving PAWS Act. The PAWS Act Coalition and many in the greater pet care community have worked hard to make this grant program a reality.”
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will provide up to five grants of $400,000 each, to begin on October 1, 2020. The primary goal of this funding is to support shelter and transitional housing services for survivors of domestic violence and their companion animals. With these grants, the DOJ seeks to increase the number of shelter beds and transitional housing options to meet the needs of domestic violence survivors who need shelter or housing for them and their companion animals. Funding provided by this grant will also provide training to local stakeholders on the link between domestic violence and the abuse and neglect of companion animals; the needs of domestic violence survivors; best practices for providing, or referring, support services to such survivors; and best practices in designing and delivering services that protect survivors confidentiality.
The U.S. Department of Justice, through the Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), will accept applications for this grant program through May 29, 2020. The PAWS Act Coalition will work to share this funding opportunity as widely as possible so that worthy organizations are informed and can apply.
To apply for funding, click here.
Organizations in the PAWS Act coalition include:
- Purina (Nestlé Purina PetCare)
- Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI)
- Noah’s Animal House
- Pet Partners
- Urban Resource Institute (URI)
Two of these organizations, Noah’s Animal House and Urban Resource Institute, are part of the only 10% of domestic violence shelters across the country that actively offer co-shelter services to keep both pets and their owners away from the dangers of domestic abuse. Together these two incredible organizations have saved more than 1,800 pets from abusive conditions, so that no domestic violence survivor is forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship and leaving their pet with their abuser.
“Our People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program and its increasing utilization across seven domestic violence shelters in New York City is a proof point that pet-friendly shelter is an important avenue of escape for people and pets facing abuse, channeling the healing power of the human-pet bond during times of crisis and transition,” said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of Urban Resource Institute. “This critical funding provided by the PAWS Act will provide more facilities with the resources to offer individuals and their beloved pets shelter together, with the opportunity to live the safest, fullest lives possible.”
“By being forced to stay at home during this pandemic, we are all experiencing firsthand the love and reassurance that our pets provide during crisis. Since 2007, Noah’s Animal House has cared for over 1,500 pets of domestic violence victims from 29 states across the U.S, in addition to our home state of Nevada. Women drove thousands of miles, driving past other women’s shelters in every state for one reason only — their pet had to be included in their escape plan,” stated Staci Alonso, founder of Noah’s and Top Ten CNN Hero 2019. “With the PAWS Act funding now available, more women’s shelters can become pet friendly and save lives.”
“In support of the PAWS Act Coalition, Pet Partners grassroots advocates made their voices heard during every step of the legislative process — recruiting key co-sponsors in the Senate, supporting passage of the PAWS Act, and building support in communities across the country. Many thousands of constituent messages, tweets, and phone calls to Congress were made emphasizing the importance of this legislation. Pet Partners is grateful to so many advocates around the country whose actions will help pets and people remain together in traumatic situations — when they need each other most,” said Annie Peters, CEO of Pet Partners.
“RedRover works to strengthen and preserve the human-animal bond by providing financial assistance, resources and support to low-income individuals and survivors of domestic violence and their pets, so families can escape together and stay together,” said Nicole Forsyth, RedRover president and CEO. “As we’ve seen through the RedRover + Purina Purple Leash Project, grants to domestic violence shelters help fulfill a lifesaving need of keeping pets and people together, and this PAWS Act funding will help build on our efforts and expand the options available for domestic violence survivors with pets.”