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$75,000 grant from the ASPCA to fund vital services for domestic violence survivors and their pets

(New York, June 8, 2015)Urban Resource Institute (URI) is pleased to announce that it has received a $75,000 grant from the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), in support of URIPALS, New York City’s only program that shelters domestic violence victims with their pets. This is the second consecutive year that the ASPCA has awarded the grant to URI.

URI launched URIPALS in June 2013 as a pilot program in response to the great need among domestic violence victims and their families for shelters that would accept pets. As many as 48 percent of victims of domestic violence remain in abusive situations for fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind, and 71 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers have threatened, harmed or killed a family pet.ASPCA logo high-res_sq

The 2015 grant from the ASPCA will continue to fund a URIPALS coordinator position established by an initial grant in 2014. Over the past year, the URIPALS coordinator has worked closely with families and pets within URI’s largest emergency shelter to provide the support and services they need to heal and move forward with their lives. In addition to funding the URIPALS coordinator position, ASPCA has worked to ensure that pets entering the URIPALS program received proper care via its Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program and the ASPCA Animal Hospital, providing pets with medical exams, vaccinations, behavioral support, spay and neuter surgery, and fostering.

“Pets are members of the family and no one, especially victims of domestic violence, should have to make the impossible decision to leave their pets behind during times of crisis,” said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of URI. “With the help of the ASPCA, URI is working to ensure that fewer victims of domestic violence and their families have to make the terrible choice between their safety and leaving a pet. As URIPALS continues to grow, it is our hope that the program will serve as a model for sheltering families with their pets nationwide.”

“We’re honored to continue supporting this innovative program that is keeping people and pets together during times of crisis,” said Allison Cardona, senior director of the ASPCA’s Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program. “Allowing survivors to be with their pets during this critical time provides comfort and stability that facilitates the healing process as they move forward with their lives. We urge shelters in New York City and across the country to implement similar programs that make it possible for pets and people to stay together.”

Since 2013, with the support of partners including the ASPCA, Purina and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, URIPALS has helped 36 families and 54 pets escape domestic violence, heal and rebuild their lives.

URIPALS client success stories:

  • In order to escape their abuser, a mother and her three children sought refuge at a domestic violence shelter in New York City; however, the shelter was unable to accommodate Peppah, the family dog. To keep Peppah with the family, the mother hid the dog in her car and often snuck her into the shelter, risking discharge from the shelter. Once Peppah was discovered, the mother was referred to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals who temporarily fostered the dog. Despite the family being safe in shelter, they longed to once again be with Peppah. In February 2014, URIPALS began to accept small dogs. As a result, the family was transferred to the new URIPALS shelter where they were reunited with Peppah, becoming the first URIPALS family with a dog in shelter.
  • Jasmin was trapped in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship and her two dogs Tony and Teresa were caught in the crossfire. When Jasmin made the decision to leave her abuser, she knew there was no way she could do so without Tony and Teresa. Thankfully, Jasmin learned of URIPALS and was able to come to the emergency shelter with her dogs. Although Jasmin, Tony and Teresa were all suffering at the time they entered the shelter, they were able to begin to heal together as a family thanks to the URIPALS coordinator and services provided by the ASPCA. Today, Jasmin, Tony and Teresa are preparing to leave the shelter and restart their lives.

URI’s four domestic violence shelters in New York City served close to 1000 clients, including 348 women and 632 children, in 2014. For more information about URI’s domestic violence services and for tips to keep the whole family safe, please visit www.urinyc.org.

In addition to support from its partners, URI relies on donations from individuals to deliver vital services to some of New York City’s most vulnerable populations. To Support URI and the URIPALS program, please visit urinyc.org/get-involved/donations/.

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 the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.