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Stay Together. Heal Together.

PALS: A decade of safety and healing for people and pets

In 2013 URI took bold action and launched the pioneering People and Animals Living Safely program, creating safe shelter and support that allows domestic violence survivors and their pets to live and heal together.

Before PALS, pets were a barrier to seeking safety because domestic violence shelters did not accommodate pets. Do individuals and families leave the pet behind and in danger? Surrender it to a rescue organization and hope for the best? Stay in the home together and face the abuse? Thanks to the PALS program, survivors with pets no longer have to make these difficult choices.

PALS also supports the human-animal bond as a powerful source of healing. Support of a beloved pet aids in overcoming shared trauma while, in contrast, being forced to abandon or surrender a pet adds another layer of pain and loss.

With PALS, domestic violence survivors and their pets stay together and heal together. See the story of one family’s experience in the powerful short film “When I Close My Eyes.”

Produced by Rising Act Films, Director: Daniel Stine, Associate Director: Kaitlin Scott

PALS staff provide specialized services and targeted programs to meet the needs of clients, including adults, children and pets. Their compassion and expertise help guide individuals and families in their journey to healing and safety. Meet integral members of the PALS team.

Danielle Emery, PALS Director
"Creating a Community of Care: Co-Sheltering Families and Their Pets” Webinar

Lina Cohen, PALS Supervisor
“2021 URI Celebration: Rise Up!”

URI recently launched the year-long 10th anniversary celebration of the pioneering PALS program with the opening of PALS Place Pet Haven rooftop garden in Brooklyn, New York. Watch the event highlights.

Inaugurating PALS 10th Anniversary Celebration

PALS Report and Survey

PALS Report Cover

Learn More and Download

"Pawprint" for Action

Pawprint for Action Report



PALS Report Findings


of survivors would not consider shelter for themselves if they could not take their pets


of survivors indicated that their pets’ emotional support and physical protection are significant in their ability to survive and heal


of survivors reported their abuser threatened to harm or kill their pet


of domestic violence shelters provide some accommodations for survivors' pets

Pets are family members, too

The human-animal bond is important to well-being, especially in times of distress. For victims, their pet may be their only source of comfort and support. But abuse affects more than people: pets experience domestic violence in ways similar to people. In many cases, pets are used as leverage to further threaten, harm or control victims. In some cases, pets may try to intervene, leading them to become a direct target of an abuser.

PALS Pet Family Graphic

Comprehensive Services for People and Pets

PALS offers pet-ready apartments and services across New York City in three boroughs that allow families and pets to live and heal together in the same secure space. Our aim is to break the cycle of violence and foster independence and hope.

Victims are provided a full range of wellness services:

  • Safety
  • Case Management
  • Counseling
  • Specialized pet care
  • Veterinarians and animal behavioral specialists
  • Economic empowerment

Safety Tips for Pets

Know the signs and develop a safety plan

Survivors of domestic violence are often subjected to multiple types of abuse over significant periods of time, including threats or harm to pets to help maintain the abuser’s power and control. When preparing to escape an abusive situation, it’s helpful to have a safety plan for the entire family, including pets. Consider the following safety tips:

Supplies. Set aside supplies, pack an emergency bag and keep it hidden, but easily accessible. Make sure to include necessary food, medication, and records for pets.

Animal ownership documents. Accumulate registration records, vet records, a microchip, and/or a current photo to prove ownership of your pets in a safe place.

Friends and family. Find a friend or family member to help care for your pet in case of a sudden emergency. They are an important part of your overall pet-care plan.

Explore options. Look into resources in your community for assistance with your pets. Look for a local co-sheltering program or animal welfare organization that can provide services. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a list of resources here.

How To Help PALS

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PALS relies on financial support from donors like you to help families in crisis. Won’t you invest in this one-of-a-kind program?


Your Donation

Your donation ensures that individuals, families and their pets can escape abuse, safely heal and gain the resources needed to rebuild their lives.


can provide vitamins and supplements for a cat that’s healing from abuse


can provide special food for a dog with allergies


can provide behavior assessment and training for a dog suffering from trauma


can provide a wellness exam and vaccinations for a pet entering shelter


can provide a habitat and supplies for a reptile pet

Thank you to our funders and supporters

The Margaret Whitton Charitable Trust

Bruce G. Geary Foundation

A Kinder World Foundation

Norma Green Foundation