PAWS Act Coalition Raises Awareness of $2.5 million for Pet and Women Safety Act Mandate to Protect Domestic Violence Survivors and their Pets
Washington, D.C. (May 6, 2021) — The PAWS Act Coalition, a group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations committed to better protecting survivors of domestic violence by establishing, validating and promoting the criticality of protecting their pets, too, is informing the domestic violence shelter community of the recent announcement of the Fiscal Year 2021 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance Grant Program.
“With the opening of the 2021 grant applications, we encourage domestic violence shelters around the country to apply for funding to become pet-friendly facilities,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI.
FY 2021 grants will provide emergency and transitional shelter and housing assistance or short-term shelter and housing assistance for domestic violence victims with pets, service animals, emotional support animals, or horses. Grants awarded may also be used for programs that provide support services designed to enable someone fleeing an abuser to locate and secure safe housing with their pet, safe accommodations for their pet, or related services such as transportation and other assistance.
The $2.5 million appropriated for 2021 represents a $500,000 increase in funding following the success of the FY 2020 Emergency Transitional Pet Shelter Housing and Assistance Grant Program. The program awarded approximately $2 million to six organizations in six states to support transitional housing services for survivors of domestic violence and their companion animals. Grants have enabled shelters to expand housing and supportive service resources for domestic violence survivors, provide assistance including rent, pet deposits, and pet supplies to those seeking transitional housing with their pet, and more.
“The first round of the PAWS Act Grant Program funding in 2020 came at a critical time to aid survivors of domestic violence seeking safe shelter and healing with their pets across the nation,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and President of Nestlé Purina PetCare. “Purina is heartened to see the expansion of the PAWS Act Grant Program this year, which will further increase access to transitional and permanent housing for people and pets looking to heal together from domestic violence.”
The OVC anticipates making up to five awards of up to $500,000 each for a 36-month period of performance, to begin on October 1, 2021. The objectives are to increase the number of shelter beds and transitional housing options to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence who need shelter or housing for them and their companion animals. Grants awarded may also be used for programs that provide training on the link between domestic violence and the abuse and neglect of companion animals; the needs of victims of domestic violence; best practices for providing or referring support systems to such victims; and best practices in designing and delivering services that protect victims’ 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 June 29, 2021. The PAWS Act Coalition is working to share this funding opportunity as widely as possible so that organizations who are qualified are informed and can apply.
– A pre-application webinar will be conducted on Thursday, May 20, 2021, from 1:00 to 2:00pm ET. Participation in the webinar is optional. OVC staff will review the solicitation requirements and conduct a question and answer session with interested potential applicants. To register for the webinar, please visit: https://ojp.webex.com/ojp/onstage/g.php?MTID=ef356e076a7daaf6bbad2710092f02594
“The need for additional pet-friendly options for domestic violence survivors remains an under-addressed, critical issue facing our country. The continuation of the PAWS Act Grant Program funding is an important step to meet this need,” said Steven Feldman, President of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). “HABRI is proud to be a member of the PAWS Act Coalition and to work alongside the greater pet care community in raising awareness for the PAWS Act Grant Program and its impact in helping protect human-animal bonds across the nation.”
Organizations in the PAWS Act coalition include:
Two of these organizations, Noah’s Animal House and Urban Resource Institute, are part of the only 20% 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 2,300 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.
“The Urban Resource Institute PALS Program (People and Animals Living Safely) has since 2013 been committed to client-centered services that allow survivors of domestic violence to find safe shelter and healing together with their companion animals,” said Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of Urban Resource Institute. “The critical funding made available in the FY 2021 Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance Grant Program will connect more facilities with resources to make it possible for individuals and their pets to heal together after the trauma of domestic violence.”
“Since 2007, Noah’s Animal House has cared for over 1,800 pets of domestic violence victims from 33 states across the U.S, in addition to our home state of Nevada. We know firsthand that domestic violence survivors will drive thousands of miles across state lines to be able to seek shelter with their beloved pets,” stated Staci Alonso, founder of Noah’s Animal House and Top Ten CNN Hero 2019. “With the second round of PAWS Act funding now available, survivors and their pets will have better access to more viable options to stay safe and thrive together.”
“Pet Partners is grateful to so many advocates around the country who made their voices heard during every step of the legislative process, emphasizing the importance of this legislation not only during the original passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, but for funding for this important grant program to continue,” said Annie Peters, CEO of Pet Partners. “Thanks to their actions, survivors of domestic violence will be able to stay together with their animal companions in a time when they need each other the most.”
“The RedRover + Purina Purple Leash Project has awarded 21 grants and additional funds totaling more than $375,000 to help equip domestic violence shelters to care for and shelter the animal victims of domestic violence. Our partnership has saved lives, and we know many shelters still do not have the means to house companion animals or provide veterinary care,” said Nicole Forsyth, RedRover President and CEO. “The continuation of the PAWS Act Grant Program made available by the Department of Justice will help meet this critical need and build on our efforts and expand the options available for domestic violence survivors with pets.”
About Urban Resource Institute
Urban Resource Institute (URI) helps transform the lives of domestic violence survivors and homeless families, with a focus on communities of color and other vulnerable populations, to end cycles of violence, poverty, and trauma. As the largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the US and a leading provider of homeless services, URI’s innovative programs impact more than 40,000 individuals annually through prevention, intervention, education, and direct services in both residential and non-residential settings. With a trauma-informed approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York City’s most vulnerable populations while influencing service delivery in other parts of the U.S. and the world. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.
Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering scientifically based nutritional innovations. Purina manufactures some of the world’s most trusted and popular pet care products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Our more than 8,700 U.S. associates take pride in our trusted pet food, treat and litter brands that feed 51 million dogs and 65 million cats every year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians, and pet care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition.
Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products and our support for pet-related organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed more than $150 million towards organizations that bring, and keep, people and pets together, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive.
About Pet Partners
Pet Partners is the national leader in demonstrating and promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted therapy, activities, and education. Since the organization’s inception in 1977, the science proving these benefits has become indisputable. With more than 10,000 registered teams making more than 3 million visits annually, Pet Partners serves as the nation’s most diverse and respected nonprofit registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams. Pet Partners teams visit with patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students, veterans with PTSD, people who have experienced crisis events, and those approaching end of life, with the goal of improving human health and well-being through the human-animal bond. With the release of its Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Interventions and international expansion, Pet Partners is globally recognized as the industry gold standard. For more information on Pet Partners, visit www.petpartners.org.
About Noah’s Animal House
Noah’s Animal House was the first stand-alone full service pet boarding facility in the country built on the grounds of and in partnership with The Shade Tree Shelter in 2007 to provide safety, shelter and support for the pets of the clients of the shelter. A second location serving up to 36 animals in Reno, Nevada opened February 2018 in partnership with the Domestic Violence Resource Center. In a national survey, 71 percent of women seeking safety in a domestic violence shelter reported pet abuse in their home and more than 25 percent delayed leaving because they did not have an escape plan that could include their pets. To learn more about Noah’s Animal House, visit http://www.noahsanimalhouse.org.
Since 1987, RedRover has focused on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the human-animal bond through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance, and education. Since 2007, RedRover has given 978 Safe Escape grants throughout the United States, totaling more than $688,000. These grants have provided
40,550 safe nights of boarding to 1,378 pets. Since the Safe Housing program’s inception in 2012, RedRover has awarded 138 grants in 41 states, totaling more than $1.5 million. Additionally, the Safe Housing grants have created the first pet-friendly domestic violence shelters in nine states. To learn how RedRover is creating a more compassionate world, visit RedRover.org.
HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit http://www.habri.org