May is National Pet Month, a perfect time for pet owners to celebrate the unbreakable bond they share with their pets and the joy they bring every day. This month is also a great opportunity to raise awareness about pets and people in need, specifically those impacted by domestic violence. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime. And sadly, if domestic violence survivors have pets, they often need to make heartbreaking choices about what to do with their pet when deciding to seek safety at a shelter.
The issue and support
Nearly half of survivors of domestic violence (48%) delay leaving their abuser because they can’t take a beloved pet with them to a shelter. This is because as few as 10% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. allow pets, leaving survivors confronted by a difficult — and often dangerous — dilemma.
Fortunately, resources for survivors and their pets continue to grow. Since 2019, Purina and the nonprofit organization RedRover have partnered to create the Purple Leash Project, a national effort born out of Purina’s mission to bring and keep pets and people together and RedRover’s mission to bring animals and their owners from crisis to care. The Purple Leash Project has provided 21 grants totaling over $300,000 to help domestic violence shelters nationwide become pet-friendly, or to expand their pet-friendly services.
For shelters that receive these grants, funding goes toward pet-friendly renovations that include installing indoor and outdoor pet havens or play areas, creating privacy screens around outdoor pet play yards, building indoor cat bridges to foster play and exercise for cats, and even converting existing apartment spaces to be adaptable for pets.
How you can help
Purina and RedRover are now working together toward a goal of making 25% of shelters in the U.S. pet-friendly by the end of 2025. And there are several ways you can contribute to the cause and help spread awareness:
1. Head to the pet food aisle
During the month of May, pet owners can look for specially marked Purple Leash Project packaging of select Purina products like Beneful, Beggin’, Tidy Cats and Cat Chow that have information about the issue and how Purina is helping. You can find these products at your favorite retailers including Walmart, Target, Chewy, Kroger, Meijer, PetSmart and Pet Supplies Plus.
2. Make a donation
By making a donation to the Purple Leash Project via RedRover.org, you can support the mission by helping to fund more grants to more shelters. As a thank you, donors who pledge $60 or more will receive a limited-edition purple leash or cat collar of their own.
3. Show your support on social media
Share more about this cause on Instagram using the hashtag #PurpleLeashProject in May and throughout the year.
“Since Purina and RedRover launched the Purple Leash Project two years ago, we’re seeing incredible progress and momentum toward our vision of creating more pet-inclusive domestic abuse services,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and president of Purina. “With hundreds of survivors and their pets already supported by this initiative, we’re committed and asking others to join us in protecting the unique bond we share with our pets so that survivors and their pets can escape to safety and begin healing together.”
To learn more about the Purple Leash Project, to make a donation or to sign up for ongoing updates, visit PurpleLeashProject.com/Petmonth.
If someone you know is being abused and is ready to leave with their pet, they can find information on pet-friendly shelters in their area at www.SafePlaceForPets.org.