is New York City’s first and only co-sheltering program that provides victims with the option of bringing their pets into shelter.

Domestic violence affects pets, not just people

As many as 48% of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations because they don’t want to leave their pet behind. Very few domestic violence shelters in the U.S. provide co-sheltering options for victims and their pets, forcing them to abandon their pets to enter shelter or remain in an unsafe environment and risk further abuse.

We believe pets are cherished members of the family

Nearly 68% of American families own a pet and the human-animal bond is important to well-being, especially in time of distress. Many abuse victims refuse to leave their pets behind when fleeing dangerous situations including domestic violence.

With only 3% domestic violence shelters in the U.S. providing co-living options for survivors and their pets, individuals are often forced to make the nearly impossible choice of abandoning their pets to enter shelter, or remaining in an unsafe environment and risking further abuse.

Pets are the hidden victim of domestic violence

Trauma doesn’t discriminate against species and pets experience domestic violence in similar ways to people. Pets are often used as leverage to further threaten, harm, or control victims. In some cases may intervene, leading them to become a direct target of an abuser.

Escaping domestic violence along with your pet is not only for their protection. Studies show that the presence of pets is important for the well-being of people who are sick or under stress, and can promote healing. Other research suggests that pets can help reduce blood pressure and fatigue in people, and can increase the presence of feel-good hormones that create feelings of calm.

How we help

PALS (People and Animals Living Safely) was established in 2013 to provide co-living options for families and their pets.

As the first program of its kind in New York City and a pioneer in the nation, PALS brings comfort and joy to families and individuals seeking refuge at URI shelters by keeping families and their pets together. We currently offer 172 apartments across five residences that allow families and pets to live and heal together in the same apartment.

To date, we've sheltered:

133 families & 183 pets

89 Cats

70 Dogs

10 Turtles

4 Fish

4 Birds

2 Guinea Pigs

2 Hamsters

1 Rabbit

1 Bearded Dragon

For more information on PALS

Contact Now
Introduced in 2019, PALS Place is the first domestic violence shelter in the nation in which every apartment unit is made for co-living, sheltering pets alongside their families in the same apartment unit.

PALS Place not only welcomes pets but was actually conceived and designed with the welfare of pets in mind based on guidance provided by animal behaviorists. Experts shared information and provided advice to make the stay for pets and their families as pleasant, safe, and fun as possible. Behaviorists provided insights on construction materials, furniture, paint colors, and window treatments that make the space welcoming, calming, and safe for each pet.

PALS Safety Tips

Know the signs and develop a safety plan


Pet-care plan: Identify in advance friends or family members who can help care for your pet(s).


Animal ownership documents: Keep registration records, vet records, a microchip, and/or a current photo to prove ownership of your pets.


Legal protection: Include pets on orders of protection. Give a copy of any legal documents to a trusted friend or family member.


Safety supplies: Pack an emergency bag and keep it hidden, but easily accessible. Make sure to include food, supplies, and records for pets in the emergency bag.

Thank you to our funders and supporters

The Margaret Whitton Charitable Trust

A Kinder World Foundation

Bruce G. Geary Foundation

Norma Green Foundation

Help families in crisis and donate to PALS

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