Archive | News RSS feed for this section

New Study From Urban Resource Institute Reveals Connection Between Domestic Violence and Pet Ownership

34% of URI shelter residents who owned a pet while in an abusive relationship reported that their partner harmed their pet

New York, NY—October 14, 2015 — Urban Resource Institute (URI), a leading provider of domestic violence programs and services in New York City, released today a new white paper, Escaping Domestic Violence as a Pet Owner: Insights from survivors of domestic violence and recommendations from the Urban Resource Institute’s URIPALS program. The white paper reveals data collected between June 2013 and May 2015 from URIPALS (People and Animals Living Safely), the only program in New York City and one of the few in the U.S. that allows domestic violence survivors to co-shelter (live in a domestic violence shelter with their pets).

Drawing on data from a survey of URI shelter residents, responses from callers to URI’s emergency shelter hotline, and a survey of those entering the URIPALS program, the white paper provides insight into the connection between domestic violence and pet ownership, highlights the challenges domestic violence survivors who are also pet owners face when attempting to flee their abusers, and examines the critical requirements for building and implementing a co-sheltering program such as URIPALS.

Findings from URI’s emergency shelter hotline include:

  • 71% of callers indicated they would like their pet to reside in shelter with them
  • 30% of callers indicated their pet had been threatened by their abuser
  • 24% of callers indicated that their abuser threatened to harm them if they protected their pet

Findings from URI’s Resident Satisfaction Survey include:

  • 34% of URI shelter residents who had a pet at any point while in an abusive relationship said their abusive partner inflicted physical harm on their pets
  • 4% of URI shelter residents reported that they had witnessed their abusive partner kill an animal

The white paper also highlights a number of URI client stories and examples, in which survivors detail how abusers harmed their pets and harmed them if they tried to protect their pets. Abusers often leverage pets as a means of controlling their partners. These stories demonstrate the danger pets and their owners face during incidents of domestic violence.

“Pets are part of the family, and the URIPALS program has been a lifeline for many, allowing entire families, pets included, to flee an abusive situation and heal together safely,” said Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of URI. “However, the lack of co-sheltering programs currently available in the U.S. creates a major barrier to safety for many families who are unwilling to leave an abusive situation if it means being separated from their pet. It is our hope that these findings will shine a brighter light on the great need within the community for programs like URIPALS and allow other organizations to start their own co-sheltering initiatives.”

The full white paper can be downloaded here.

About Urban Resource Institute

Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive human services programs that help individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area overcome obstacles and better their lives. With a rich 35-year legacy of social service research and expertise, deep community relationships, and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York’s most vulnerable populations. URI’s hands-on programs for victims of domestic violence and the developmentally disabled are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual, while community outreach initiatives build wider visibility and support for the issues that have an impact on our clients’ quality of life and New York’s urban communities. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.

Urban Resource Institute and Nestlé Purina Unveil the Purina Pet Haven, Manhattan’s First-Ever Dog Park in a Domestic Violence Shelter

Dog park ribbon-cutting celebrates the growth of URIPALS—URI’s initiative to shelter people and pets together—and URI’s partnership with Purina

New York, NY – October 13, 2015 – Urban Resource Institute (URI) and Nestlé Purina PetCare (Purina) today hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate Manhattan’s first-ever dog park in a domestic violence shelter. The new dog park is located at Urban Women’s Retreat (UWR), a emergency shelter that is part of the URIPALS (People and Animals Living Safely) program. URIPALS is the only program in New York City and one of the few nationally that allows survivors of domestic violence to live in shelter with their pets. To date, URIPALS has helped 43 families with 63 pets, including 38 cats, 18 dogs, and a range of smaller animals, such as reptiles and fish, escape domestic violence.

Sponsored by Purina, which funded the design and construction of the dog park, the Purina Pet Haven will provide survivors of domestic violence and their families (including pets) with a safe and calming retreat in which to heal together while in shelter. The opening of the new dog park builds upon Purina’s previous support of the URIPALS program. In the spring of 2014, Purina also sponsored the creation of the Purina Play Haven at URI’s Safe Haven shelter in Brooklyn, the first-ever dog park at a domestic violence shelter in New York City. Since its opening, the park at Safe Haven has served as a vital component in the healing process for a number of families and their pets.

“Through the URIPALS program we have witnessed first-hand how important it is for survivors to have their beloved pets by their side while they heal,” said Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of URI. “From early on in the URIPALS program, Purina has been committed to supporting survivors of domestic violence and their pets. We know that the new dog park will play an integral part in helping our clients heal, and for that we are extremely grateful to Purina.”

URI and Purina’s collaboration in support of URIPALS brings together one of New York City’s largest domestic violence service providers and a leader in the pet care industry around the closely linked issues of animal abuse and domestic violence. United by the belief that people and pets are better together, URI and Purina are helping reduce barriers to safety for families with pets in domestic violence situations and hope to continue raising awareness about the impact of abuse on the whole family—including pets.

“For most pet owners, the bond with their pet is incredibly strong, and for people in abusive relationships their pet can be an important source of comfort,” said Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina veterinarian. “Purina is very proud to support the Urban Resource Institute in its efforts to keep families and their pets together during this time of healing.”

As part of its support for the URIPALS program, Purina is also donating Purina ONE brand dog food, Purina Cat Chow brand cat food, along with other dog treats and cat litter. In addition, Purina is working with URI to provide supplies for welcome kits for families bringing pets to Urban Women’s Retreat, including pet travel carriers, safety gates, pet beds, pet feeding and watering bowls, cat scratching posts, leashes and pet toys.

At the ribbon-cutting, Manhattan Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla and New York State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal issued proclamations celebrating the URIPALS program and its impact on survivors of domestic violence and their pets in New York City.

To learn more about URIPALS and for tips on keeping the entire family safe in domestic violence situations, please visit www.urinyc.org.

About Urban Resource Institute

Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive human services programs that help individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area overcome obstacles and better their lives. With a rich 35-year legacy of social service research and expertise, deep community relationships, and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York’s most vulnerable populations. URI’s hands-on programs for victims of domestic violence, the developmentally disabled, and people struggling with addiction and substance abuse are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual, while community outreach initiatives build wider visibility and support for the issues that have an impact on our clients’ quality of life and New York’s urban communities. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.

About Nestlé Purina

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is a global leader in the pet care industry. Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness.
###