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Mon Oct 7, 2019, 04:07 PM

Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelters Help Abuse Victims Stay Safe

Here’s a sobering statistic from the animal advocacy nonprofit Red Rover: Only 10% of domestic violence shelters accept pets. That means many people fleeing abuse find themselves giving up animals with whom they’ve formed meaningful bonds. And sometimes, those animals themselves are at risk of experiencing abusive behavior.

Such was the case for Jill and her 10 year old lab-mix named Scarlet. Like Jill, Scarlet is also a domestic violence survivor of the same situation.

After Jill made the decision to leave her abuser for a home for domestic violence survivors, she could only find one place that allowed dogs – it was in Kansas City and it was always full. So, Jill spent a year couch surfing, staying at friends’ and families’ places, until she found Lydia’s House. Lydia’s House is a St. Louis shelter that houses battered women for up to two years.

“It’s made a big difference for both of us,” said Jill. “To me, Scarlet is not optional. I made a commitment to her, and she and I are a team. So if I was going, she was going.”


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