(www.redrover.org), a national animal protection nonprofit based in
California, is bringing attention to the connection between animal
abuse and family violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month by
offering information about grants available to domestic violence shelters.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more
than 70 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters
reported that their batterer had injured, killed or threatened family
pets for revenge or psychological control. As many as 48 percent of
domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because
they fear what will happen to their pets when they leave. Only three
percent of shelters can house pets on-site; a portion provide off-site
housing referrals while the majority of shelters do not offer any
resources at all.
RedRover offers aid to victims of domestic violence and their pets
through the RedRover Relief program. This program provides financial
support for veterinary care and boarding to enable domestic violence
victims to leave their batterers without having to leave their pets
behind, and new in 2012, the program provides grants to domestic
violence shelters to enable them to fund the creation of on-site space
to house pets.
“Sadly, many domestic violence victims stay in abusive homes because
they are afraid to leave their pets,” said Nicole Forsyth, RedRover
President and CEO. “Their pets are often also victims of abuse,
suffering from injuries and neglect. RedRover Relief grants make it
possible for victims to safely escape, reassured that their pets are
Donations to the RedRover Relief program have funded critical care and
shelter for animals displaced by family violence. In one case, RedRover
awarded a $300 grant to a woman seeking a protective order against her
husband, who had threatened to drive her cats into the woods and
abandon them. Another applicant finally found the courage to leave her
abusive husband, but said she would sleep in her car before she gave up
her elderly pug. And in another case, a grant from RedRover paid for
two months of boarding for a family’s dog while they sought child- and
pet-friendly housing after fleeing a very dangerous situation.
Increased outreach and greater public awareness on domestic violence
issues have led to a 70 percent rise in applications for the RedRover
Relief program in the last year.
RedRover Relief grants can help family violence shelters include pets.
Learn more at www.redrover.org/domestic.
Founded in 1987, RedRover focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and
into care through a variety of programs, including emergency animal
sheltering and disaster relief services, financial assistance for
urgent veterinary care and humane education. Learn more at
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“The bill is named after Patrick the Pitbull, a dog that was starved, thrown down a garbage chute and left for dead in Newark in 2011. The legislation was praised by animal rights activists during a committee hearing last month, and it received unanimous support in the Senate today.
“If the bill becomes law, abusing an animal or depriving it of food, water or other necessities would be a fourth-degree crime. It is currently a disorderly persons offense. If the animal dies as a result of the abuse, the crime would be increased to the third degree.
“The law would increase the civil penalty for animal abuse to a fine of $1,000 to $3,000 for a first offense, and $3,000 to $5,000 for a subsequent offense.”