Praise Domestic Violence Shelter for Adding Pet-Friendly Housing


Target: Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of Urban Resource Institute

Goal: Thank domestic violence shelter officials for their plans to convert apartments into pet-friendly units

Six months after officials began allowing pets at 10 apartments designated for domestic violence survivors, the Urban Resource Institute has announced plans to convert even more apartments into pet-friendly units so that victims of domestic violence don’t have to leave their pets behind.

Urban Resource Institute, a nonprofit human services organization in New York City, first introduced a program called People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) in April as a way for victims of domestic violence to escape their situation without leaving their pets with their abuser. The lifesaving program has offered a safe haven for victims, as well as 26 cats, 13 dogs and three turtles, according to Huffington Post. Now that the allotted pet-friendly apartments are at capacity, five more units are set to be converted, complete with sound-proof materials, access to a dog park and therapy for animals who may have been traumatized by abuse.

According to the ASPCA, “national studies estimate that 70 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser has threatened, harmed or killed a family pet.” Abusers use pets as a way to keep their victim from leaving or to force them to do something against their will. In an effort to protect their beloved companions, many victims stay in abusive situations because most shelters will not allow them to take their pets with them. Fortunately, the continuing growth of programs like PALS will help protect victims and their pets from abuse. Thank Urban Resource Institute officials for their compassion for both people and animals alike by expanding their pet-friendly housing program.


Dear Mr. Fields,

As an animal welfare advocate, I would like to thank you for Urban Resource Institute’s plans to expand its PALS program by converting five more apartments designated for domestic violence survivors into pet-friendly units.

As you know, the PALS program is vital in offering a safe haven to humans and animals alike. Not only has it allowed 26 cats, 13 dogs and three turtles to be removed from abusive situations, it has also given victims of domestic violence the opportunity to leave their situation without fearing for the life of their pet. In addition to providing sound-proof materials and access to a dog park, I applaud the therapy options that are available for animals who have been traumatized by abuse. I am truly grateful for the compassion your organization shows to both people and animals. Thank you for the continued growth of the lifesaving PALS program through the expansion of pet-friendly housing.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: ciao-chow via Flickr

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  1. Great job! Indeed only too often a life saving initiative. Bravo!

  2. clare worthington says:

    This is a wonderful thing as our pets are our family they are like our kids this is a blessing for people suffering from domestic violence as this is why some stay for their pets need safety too so some stay to keep their pets safe as the abuser can turn on the pets left behind an this is why some stay for their pets to keep them safe

  3. Well done! Let’s hope more shelters (and countries! ) follow suit!

  4. Great job! Although, I have to say not wanting to sound too critical, but it is about damn time!

  5. These people have earned their “angel wings” for helping the innocent pets of domestic violence victims because many times the pets themselves have either been or will become victims of the abusers as well. Hope every haven for human victims also becomes a haven for their innocent pets too! Again kudos to this organization!

  6. Leslie Stanick says:

    Dogs and cats can reduce anxiety, and provide much needed comfort and grounding to trauma victims, especially those with children. I hope this trend continues. However, I hope there are also spaces for victims that do not smoke, and have allergies to pets, an allergy free zone is critical especially for young children, people with respiratory and other allergies. Fragrance free and allergen free spaces are essential.

  7. i am so thankful to learn that dom viol shelters are starting to provide accommodations for the pets of those that have made the move for their own safety, and now they can take their pets, knowing that they are saving the life of that/those pets…kudos to you, and with your example, other shelters will make the same move…thank you so very much.

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